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JULY 1979 $200 






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Cover art tor this month's Omni 
is an untitled painting by the 
French artist Pierre Lacombe. 
Lacomiio. who wanted to paint 
since sge fifteen, began only 
ten years ago, at age 
thirty-eight. He now lives 
outside Paris. 






Ben Bova 













Kenneth Brower 




Mark R.Chartrand III 




Bernard Dixon 




William K. Stuckey 







Allan Hendry 



Data Bank 




Be van M. French 




Spicier Robinson 




Douglas Gasner 




Owen Davies 




Orson Scott Card 




Monte Davis 




John Morressy 




G. Harry Stine 







Chester' Kyle 




John Keefauver 







Patrick Moore 




Dave Dooling 




Malcolm Kirk 




Scot Morris 




Daniel Greenberg 



OMNI. 1979 (ISSN 01 49-87 
monthly in [he United Stall 
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QBy early next century 
people will chuckle 
when they recall the 
fears their parents had 
about storing radio- 
active wastes. The "hot 
stuff" will be routinely 
boosted far beyond the 
orbit of the moon, or 
farther if need be -3 

,,;■■-.■ ■ ■■ ■ . :-.■■: 

added new fuel to the controversy over ' 
nuclear power: radioactive fuel. I would 
like' to suggest that a couple of key issues 
irithis controversy could be resolved by. 
■applying technology and ideas from the 
space program. 

What do rockets and. astronauts, have. to 
do : with- uranium reactors and radioactive 
wastes'? Let me explain. 

Back in the 1950s,, when Vanguard 

■ rockets blewup on the iaunchpad and 
Shark missiles made wrong turns in flight, 
"sober mathematical analyses indicated 

■ that rockets might never work right. These 
studies. showed that there were so.many ' 
interdependent mechanisms in large 

. rocket boosters, which allowed- so many ' 
possibilities of failure, that — statistically— 
the chances were against any rocket's - .. 
ever getting of.f the ground.'-. . 

Rockets did fly, though, thanks to the 
^painstakingly careful work of excellently 
■trained:'technicians, who beat the statistics 

■ ■ bydouble- and triple-checking every . 

■ mechanism involved'in each flight. 

Because the lives ot astronauts 
depended on making, everything work 
'. right the first time, by the time NASA was 
ready to send up manned space vehicles, 
Space engineers' and administrators came;' 
up with the concept of "zero defects." 

Almost all manufacturing prog rams, ■ 
from those that produce doorknobs to. 
those that make airplanes, are. based on 

■ the idea that a certain number' of-.defective' 
parts will get through the system, there 

. being an economically and morally ■ 
acceptable iaiiure rate. For example, you. 
L,antake J 1 ackiothe 

hardware store; airlines test-fly their new 
planes before putting them into service; 

■ and Detroit calls back, with depressing ■ 
■.regularity its new cars for corrections. 

' ' But NASA' realized that if could neither ' 
test-fly a'manned rocket booster and ' 
.spacecraft, since each is used only once, : 
: nor call back a spacecraft for defects that '■ 
were discovered dying its iiight. 

Hence, the concept of zero defects. 
NASA's goal was to achieve zero defects 
■ in every manufactured item it used. Zero' 
defects in workmanship, parts, tabor — 
everything. And zero defects in the 
performance of its personnel, as well. Doit 
right thefirst time, because there won'! bo 
any second chance. -. 

It took years of. training, all up and down 
the line, from the smallest subparts . 
manufacturers to the guys who worked the 
control desks at Houston. No one ever 

■ ■■ pretended. that the program actually- 

achieved zero, defects. But it got .close ' 
enough to win us the moon. 

Couldn't we use this zero-defects ■ , : ; 
concept in the building andoperaf/on of ■■ 
nuclear-power pfants? Couldn't we utilize 
NASA-trained managers to instruct the 
men and women who operate those power 
plants? Certainly it would be expensive. 
' But .compare the way the technicians in 
the Three Mile Island plant behaved in the 
■ emergency with the way NASA's team . 
behaved during the explosion that- 
damaged Apollo 13 white it was oh Its way 
to the moon.. 

Is the difference in competency worth 
the cost? 

A longer-range question about nuclear 
■safety is the problem of where to store the 
radioactive wastes. Some of the wastes' dangerously radioactive not merely 
for centuries but for millennia. 

The answer, of course, is to fly them off 
this planet and store them in the depths; of 

Even veteran space engineers blanch . 
ai the though! of boosting radioactive. 
wastes aboard the space shuttle or its 
descendants. Butthe experts are always 
too close to their problems to see new „ 
opportunities. Experts rejected ' 
antiseptics, airplanes, the submarine, 
wireless radio, radar, rockets — even the 
atomic bomb. 

By early next century people will 
chuckle when they recall the fears their 
parents had about storing radioactive 
wastes. The "hot. stuff" will be routinely . 
boosted far beyond the orbit of the moon, 
or farther, if need be. 

Nuclear-power plants are dangerous. 
Not so dangerous, perhaps, as liquefied. 
natural gas, which explodes rather often,- 
or as coal, which kills miners and poisons 
the air in which it burns, but dangerous 
enough for us to be careful about them. 

Do we need nuclear-power plants? In 
tneface.of steeply climbing oiland ' 
natural-gas prices, yes. In the realization 
that solar-, wind-, water-, and other "soft-" 
energy technologies will not be available 
for large-scale use for at least another 
decade, yes. . 

Should we fear nuclear power plants? 
Yes, of course; just as we fear fire and - 
poisonous chemicals. Bui the choice we 
have is not whether we go With plutonium 
or ban nuclear energy altogether. If we use 
ow brains, or skills, and the hard-won- 
knowledge of the space program, we can 
us'e.nuclear energy ;safely and wisely— 
until we have the opportunity to go oh to 
something better. O0 : . - 


For over four billion years the 
moon lay quiet and still, but our 
understanding of it has changed 
dramatically since the ianding of Apollo 
11 , ten short years ago. Twelve American 
astronauts have since walked the lunar 
surface, and more than 2,000 rock and 
soil samples have been collected from six 
different sites. Mostly because of Apollo 
11 , lunar bases, orbital habitats, and 
zero-g industries no longer seem like 
impossible dreams. 

This month Omni celebrates the Apollo 
landing with a detailed analysis of man's 
lunar exploration by NASA scientist 
Bevan M. French. As discipline scientist 
for planetary materials, Dr. French is 
responsible for the "care and feeding" of 
real visitors from outer space— the moon 
rocks, meteorites, and cosmic dust that 
provide us with the only solid evidence of 
what the rest of the solar system is like. 

Beginning in 1969, French was 
assigned to study lunar rocks from the 
Apollo 11, 12, and 14 missions. He was 
also selected as one of a small group of 
scientists to study material returned by the 
Russian Luna 16 unmanned probe, and in 
1971 and 1972 he underwent astronaut 
training with the Apollo 16 and 17 crews. 

An "enthusiastic communicator" of 
space science, French is the author 
of The Moon Book (Penguin, 1977) and 
several well-known magazine articles. Turn 
to "The Once and Future Moon" for a 
closer look at some of his "pet rocks" and 
what they tell us (page 44). 


"We are closer to building the ultimate 
computer than most people recognize," 
writes scientist-author G. Harry Stine. 'All 
that remains is to take these laboratory 
demonstrations and put them together in 
the first working 'bionic brain.' " 

In this issue Stine probes another side of 
cybernetics— direct linkup of the human 
brain to an electronic computer. The 
result? A device capable of increasing 
human learning potential several hundred 
percent. The question is, Will the 
computer's crystalline system engulf the 
much slower human colloidal system? 
Read "The Bionic Brain" (page 84) and 
find out for yourself, 

While investigating the antiviral effec- 
tiveness of the intercellular substance 
known as interferon, scientists stumbled. 
onto the surprising discovery that this 
natural chemical greatly inhibits the 
growth of certain malignant tumors. Late 
last year the American Cancer Society 
announced the largest grant in its 
history — $2 million— for the purchase of 
interferon to be used in clinical trials 
against various types of cancer. 

"Interferon and Beyond" (page 54) by 
editor Douglas Gasner profiles the 
research being conducted on this 
remarkable substance and explains why 
it has suddenly been hurled into the 
forefront of cancer therapy. A graduate of 
Albert Einstein College of Medicine, 
Gasner has published articles in New 
Times, World, Saturday Review. Science 
Digest, Family Health, and Medical 

Dimensions, among others. <■ 

Car lovers will tell you the bicycle is 
too slow and when it rains you get wet. 
Well, that's simply no longer true. In 
"Supercycles" (page 96) engineer 
Chester Kyle introduces the bikes of 
tomorrow— fast, streamlined, and 
self-enclosed. "Not only will it keep the rain 
out," says Kyle, "but it will help generate 
speeds of up to55mph." 

Kyle has designed and built streamlined 
bicycles that formerly were the fastest, 
and he still holds two world records. Says 
the engineering professor, "It's the most 
efficient vehicle ever invented." 

In his book The High Frontier, Gerard K. 
O'Neill contends that the unlimited energy 
produced from solar cells and the vast 
materials mined on the moon and 
asteroids will make possible a new and 
attractive life for thousands, perhaps 
millions, of people. But unlike earlier 
proposals, O'Neill's space habitats would 
be huge, open environments, with cloud-filled 
skies basking in reflected sunlight. 

This month Omni interviewer Monte 
Davis talks with the Princeton professor 
whose ideas on space colonization have 
started a nationwide craze. The July 
interview starts on page 76. 

Finally, don't miss "Planet Story" by 
Harry Harrison and Jim Burns . Flashy 
pictorial novels such as this are swiftly 
making their way to bookstore shelves. The 
reader reaction, according to two 
prominent publishers— overwhelming. 
See page 88. DO 

Who took 

The Crown Jewel of England? 

Solve the mystery- 

you could win $25,000! 

The sleuth who finds the truth may win a $25,000 first prize, 
$5,000 second prize, or one of five $1,000 runner-up prizes. 

The scene is the drawing room about to be taken. 

of a 17th century manor house in 
the heart of the Kent countryside. 


There are five people 
in the manor house. 
Although no one 
knows it, The Crown 
Jewel of England is 

The Contessa is 
pering to the Squire. 

The man in the heavy 
boots sits holding his 
favorite drink -a Beefeater 
Gin and Tonic. 

The person seated 
opposite the Brigadier is ^ 
enjoying a Beefeater Gimlet. 
The Butler enters with a 

Beefeater Gibson for the 
person seated to the 
right of Lady Trumbull. 
, The Brigadier mum- 
bles to himself to buy 
a bottle of Beefeater 
Gin - The Crown ejSS 
iewel of England - 
the way home. 
ill Suddenly the 
lights go out. 


The Gibson Girl swoons 
into the waiting arms of the 
Martini Man. 

Lady Trumbull faints. 
No one could hear any 

It should be easy to de- 
duce who turned out the lights, 
dear reader. 

mlessa ^Ul HOW, more , 

importantly, clip 

out the coupon and 

tell us (for a chance at 

525,000) who takes 

The Crown Jewel 
. _ of England. That 
is a far trickier 
problem, and The squire 
no one, not even you, is 
above suspicion. Good 
"uck and good hunting! 

Who took The Crown Jewel of England? 

OFFICIAL RULES: :No purchase required.) 1. Clip out [his entire stamped envelope eo: Beefeater Gin "The Crown Iewel of Engl; 
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BEEFEATER GIN. The Crown Jewel of England. 


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For the Record 

II was my pleasure to place the article 
"Some of Us May Never Die," from the first 
edition of Omni, in the Congress/o/ia/ 

I find your magazine thought-provoking 
and fascinating. The article on biomedical 
research was well researched and timely 
with a study being conducted by the 
House's Human Services Subcommittee. 
Best wishes for the continued success ot 
the magazine. 

Rep. John Paul Hammerschmidt 
Washington, DC. 

Sheer Static 

I must protest the claims made by 
Christopher Priest about Professor 
Tidmarsh and his whole theory of static 
gravity [April 1979], There is no real 
relation between electric current and 
gravity, as the first is a flow of energy from 
high to low potential and the second is an 
elementary property of space itself. 
Furthermore, on page 78 Priest fells us 
that the farther one is away from the center 
of gravity, the greater the weight. This is 
absolute idiocy! The weight decreases, 
and while it is true that the potential 
momentum increases, that is not weight. 
Another thing is that worldwide 
"conspiracy" to keep the staticon projector 
a secret. The United States did not 
succeed in keeping the A-bomb a secret. 
It is inconceivable that such a weapon 
could be kept from the public. 
Interestingly enough, in this same issue 
there is an article on cranks. Don't you 
think this story belongs in that category? 
Robin Carpenter 
Roc a, Nebr. 

We do indeed, though many readers 
apparently missed the subtlety of Mr. 
Priest's "factional humor. " — Ed. 

Concerning Christopher Priest's article on 
Static gravity: April fool to you, loo! 

It was a very clever trick, and I must say 
I really fell for it until I read lhat a running 
man actually travels. faster than a walking 
man and that both travel faster than one 
who is standing still. 

What a profound statement! Of course, 
the real clincher was Mark Chartrand's 
article on cranks in the same issue. 

For a minute there you guys really had 
me worried. All this talk of gravitational 
polarity. I thought Omni had made a real 
blunder, when all the time you were only 
kidding. Beautiful! 

Norman Douglas tvlclead 
Watertown, Conn. 

At last, someone got it right! — Ed. 

Stifled Yawn 

John A. Wheeler's continued bias 
[Continuum, April 1979] against the 
inclusion of parapsychology within the » 
American Association for the 
Advancement of Science is much the 
same noise we heard, not very many years 
ago, from medical stalwarts against the 
recognition of psychology as a health 

Obviously, the evidential science of 
parapsychology could not be expected to 
repose comfortably in the same bed with 
such physical-science representatives as 
Wheeler. Such protests as his shouldn't 
surprise anyone beyond a partially stifled 

Gerry T. Erberich 
Fairfield, Calif. 

More Zen 

Omni is playing a key role in 
communicating the interlocking order that 
usually "falls between the cracks" in 
scientific journalism. Not only are your 
authors provocative but their work is 
supported by the finest graphics on the 
newsstand. How you can accomplish this 
for $2 per copy is wondrous— indeed, a 
sign of good management. 

One word of caution, though; Your 
impressive first issue contained a 
magnificent piece by Thomas Hoover on 
Zen. Omni's amount of attention paid to 
the relationship between science and 
spirit has been in a state of decline ever 
since. Don't let this trend continue; else 
Omni shall eclipse part of the leading 
edge of scientific creative thought. There 
are hidden relationships here that must not 



In which the readers, editors, and 
correspondents discuss topics arising out 
o! Omni and theories and speculation of 
general interest are brought forth. The 
views published are not necessarily those 
of the editors. Letters for publication 
should be mailed to Omni Forum, Omni 
Magazine, 909 Third Avenue, New York, 
N.Y. 10022. 

Home Delivery 

I would like to congratulate Gena Corea on 
her outspoken article "Childbirth 2000" 
[April 1979], 

It is indeed a chilling portrayal of the 
frightening future faced by expectant 
mothers, and it makes one wonder just 
how far professional groups will goto 
protect their pocketbooks. 

While I applaud the tremendous strides 
made by medicine since the advent of 
space exploration, it now seems that we 
have forgotten how to practice moderation 
and restraint. Technological know-how is 
not matched by a corresponding aware- 
ness of moral responsibility, and the 
medical situations described in the 
article are ample proof of a total disre- 
gard for the wishes of the patient in 
every respect. 

The question of legal action against 
midwives in cases of child deaths raises 
some interesting points. What about 
similar actions against doctors whose 
patients die while under their care? It 
seems always to boil down to the same 
12 OMNI 

thing: Doctors are protected by the 
time-honored assignation of their 

We must fight this now, because our 
children are the ones who will be affected 
by this abhorrent medical practice, 

W D, Trigg 

College Bridge, N.B.. 


Thank you for Gena Corea's article 
"Childbirth 2000." 

As a concerned mother, who just 
recently had my first at home. I feel the 
facts you reported were long overdue in 
the media. 

I, too, had difficulty finding a doctor to 
support our home birth without 
interference. My husband and I finally 
found one, and all the doctor had to do 
was sit in a corner and observe my 
husband receive our perfectly healthy boy. 
What a glorious way to enter the arches of 
motherhood, surrounded by friends and 

There are still M.D.s at the doorstep 
trying to convince me I was, and am, 
wrong in my attitude about birth and 

I shall not cease to provide whatever 
support I can for other families to share in 
the joy and free choice of home birth. 

My congratulations to Omni for bravery 
in putting the "facts" out there. 

Ma Deva Lola 
Los Angeles, Calif. 

Gena Corea conjures up an impassioned 
1984-ish view of childbirth in the year 2000 
that is truly science fiction and not 
realistic. Present-day physicians are 
painted as greedy and uncaring 
individuals, more concerned with their 
scalpels than with patient care, using 
dangerous procedures haphazardly, and 
destined to enforce their will, through 
police intervention, if necessary, on 
the poor, "pathologically" ill pregnant 

Although some of Corea's concerns are 
legitimate, they're blown out of proportion 
and frightening to the unknowing. It's clear 
that technology has lowered infant and 

maternal mortality— dramatically— and it 
is my belief and experience that most 
physicians proceed with good intentions. 

Women with uncomplicated preg- 
nancies are being discharged sooner, 
hospitals are allowing fathers to 
participate more and more, birthing rooms 
are on the rise, and midwives are being 
given full responsibility at deliveries in 

The problem, as I see it, is, How much 
must a normal pregnancy endure so that 
an abnormal pregnancy can be detected 
and be treated?Toxemia in pregnancy 
can be fatal to both mother and child; 
diabeies untreated can be the same; 
gonorrhea in the birth canal can blind 
the newborn; herpes in the canal can . 
cause fatal meningitis (and herpes can 
be present and not be detected); a 
premature rupture of the amniotic sac can 
lead to life-threatening infections; 
abnormal positioning of the placenta can 
cause severe hemorrhaging; a cord 
wrapped around an infant's neck can 
strangle it. 

At home you take your chances. Many 
complications can be prevented. Should 
one fall into that unfortunate 5-10 
percentile group of complications, one 
has only oneself to blame. 

Geoffrey Simmons, M.D. 
Eugene, Oreg. 

Due Respect 

Three cheers for Ben Bova's Last Word in 
your April edition! 

At long last a professional has spoken 
out on my pet peeve, the careless 
reference to science "fiction as— oh, most 
horrible of horribles— the term that makes 
me want to scream "aghhhhhl": sci-fi. 

Thank you, Mr. Bova, not only for the 
request for due respect when referring to 
our most treasured literature, but also for a 
most thoughtful article. ... it should have 
been the First Word! 

I also want to add my sincerest praise of 
Omni. It is undoubtedly the best magazine 
to hit the stands in a long time. You 
deserve nothing but laurels. 

Linda Dell 
Brookline, Mass. 

From Arthur, with Love 


Thank you for your letter of March 14. 

I'm sorry if I have hurl your feelings, 
though I take your protestations with a 
grain of salt. As a matter of fact, I don't rule 
out the possibility ot real ESP phenomena, 
or even that you may be able to exhibit 
them. However, in- science you have to 
accept simple explanations until 
overwhelming evidence to the contrary 
compels you io seek an alternative. 

I haven't obtained my opinion entirely 
from Randi or Martin Gardner, but from 
other sources as well. Perhaps the most 
devaslating is the Puharich book, as I 
suspect you must now ruefully agree. . . . 

I've gone on record assaying that f here 
is a genuine "Geller Effect," viz., one's 
ability to charm otherwise hardheaded 
scientists and observers (including me) 
into temporary suspensions of disbelief. 

I expecf you know my novel Childhood's 
End. which does assume the existence of 
ESP phenomena. It's just going into 
production in Hollywood, and maybe we 
should hire you as our adviser. . . . 

If you ever come here— everybody does 
eventually— I would like to introduce you 
to the excellent local magicians. I have 
seen them do iricks whose explanation I 
can't begin to fathom. 

I gather you have been having an 
Interesting time in Latin America. 

All good wishes, 

Arthur C.Clarke 
Colombo, Sri Lanka 

Demystifying UFOiogy 

Omni thus far has failed lo pinpoint the 

event in recent history that explains the 

current enthusiasm for the UFO 


On June 24, 1947, Kenneth Arnold, 
flying in his private airplane, saw a group 
of UFOs over Mounf Rainier in 
Washington. This event, more than any 
other, sparked the beginning of the UFO 
movement in the United States. Out of this 
incident evolved a need for a better 
understanding ol the phenomenon and its 
implications for the future. As a result, 
various research organizations were 
founded — as early as 1952, 

The express pirposo o ; these groups, 
many of which exist today, is to find out the 
origin and purpose of UFOs and to 
attempt to validate their existence. Of 
equal importance lo these organizations is 
their opposition lo any governmental 
censorship. They also seek the release of 
any classified information held by both the 
federal government and the military 
regarding the study of UFOs. 

By the addition of new scientists to their 
ranks, the various UFO organizations hope 
to gain some authority and integrity 
necessary to maintain their power base. 
An intense sense of competition exists 
among the various individual groups. They 
vie with one another for prominence in the 
movement through the use of the media. 

14 OMNI 

These groups are the prime exponents 
of new theories and revelations 
■ concerning the "truth about UFOs." This 
constant debate will soon subside with the 
apparent takeover of the investigation of 
UFOs by the United Nations. At that time, 
perhaps, many of fhe groups active today 
will assume an auxiliary role in seeking a 
solution to this very important question. 
They should be asked to assist in 
coordinating the voluminous amount of 
material coming in from each participating 
nation. It would also be advisable to utilize 
the expertise of those scientists already 
committed to the study of this 
phenomenon to help remove the veil of 
mystery that surrounds the UFO enigma. 
Harry Lebelson 
Weehawken, N.J. 

Plant Poison 

Isn't it stretching it a bit to claim that plants 
are a major causative factor in the smog 
levels recorded foday? [See "Plant 
Pollution," Continuum, March 1979.] I 
wonder how it is that preindustrial Earth 
could possibly have survived, surrounded, 
as it were, by unbroken fields and forests. 
Perhaps the all-pervasive vegetable 
life-forms, in realizing the deadly guality of 
their so-called natural functions, 
collectively decided to curtail these 
dangerous processes until such time as 
they were assured of the good "cover" that 
internal-combustion engines and 
chemical industries of today afford. 

Only with such cover could plants 
remain blameless and unpunished for 
their devious and shameful attempts to 
mislead and endanger human life as it is 
today on this planet. Alas for them, though, 
for it appears that they have finally been 
found out. 

To follow in this line of reasoning, I would 
wholeheartedly propose that we begin 
immediale action to level, pave over, and 
plow under all vegetation on this planet, 
beginning of course with the particularly 
offensive growths that are within sight (and 
downwind as well) of the major freeways 
and cities within the Bay Area Air Pollution 
Control District. 

However, I wonder whether it is possible 
that the so-called dangerous emissions 
from these forests and fields could 
somehow be attributed to the pollution of 
the air and soil around them, which they 
breathe and eat just as we do. After all, we 
breathe out and otherwise attempt to 
eliminate the numerous poisons that are 
forcefully introduced into our bodies 
through the air and "soil" that we ingest. Is 
it too farfetched to assume that plants may 
attempt to do the same? 

Bigfork, Mont. 

Unscientific Happenings 

I read Frank Kendig's commentary [First 
Word, April 1979] with considerable 
interest. After comparing his position and 
my own experience, I gather that we have 

reached an area *^r*r *mcf- the scientific 
meihDC ~e. ~:~ :■? :.z~'=z = 

What comes lo t»*k s g^6' shifts in the 
preva '-■z ~ =■"■=■• :' "•=■: z~~' "z any 
given phenomenon For iheshrft to 
e~:c " : t~ ~e~z ~zz ~~ ce i~.—^zr,e like 
Re~e 3 es :=".".■?= ~: = = = r _ :_ aing a new 
const',.":: _ : _:^ -': — =" ;^ that did 
no'*'-: -:: " *c~ . e» :-•: medieval 
pr ;s;c"t"5 ~~z e It ""=" ES P may 
not ': ":: ~^ :_""t _ " ;: ^-""" : "~::e- We 

ma> -a.= :: zz-\ z~ = ; ~z- =" takes 

cocr :;:f :" _:-: ^~ ~ : "acoenings. 

M, :■/.- ----- z z z~ ~z =-z - 

psyo" z -ea ~z -=.-z-zz experiences 
as heae - =-zz=:-=r~ ~ ~ rrs healing 
process »;= ;=^:£-: _: -~~z,zr these 
e.'De' ■?-; = ; r: --:- -- - ~ :_--=-■. 

c:~::: = :;-'': ~zz : ~z =:— eihing 

anc :-- - ~z —-. : z r~ z. . ~ z . Bentov 


'.'a.- 3 sspy 
Bar Antonio, Tex, 


In the eyes of propeny tared 3rxJ 
srz.: ezz^z-zi z~: z~ :z = ■:"- " n 
:"e : e:: _ 7'":=7":" =~: zz z~ ial 
phenomena, Ihe autawfc of doth the ' 
"pro" and "con* groups r *e scientific 
community ae Ojjfty a* Mrcehng 

5; :;:_;= i- n-i: ; ; ; some 
ur.c-z.z~ za : i'--:-.~z~ :~:- i -. 
e--:az =■"=: -=-.= 

One s," ii~-~z~ :~ -. ~ ="- 
observed phenomena cannot Pe 
produced w^wiTTe^^r-e^cr- of known 
physical, bioogea at or psychological 
laws and pnnopies. 

One result of tieseoreassump&oris is 
that the "con* graupirusaeny the 
existence of phenomer^ecTe^sr-ced by 
everyone in one way or anotner a number 
of times in the* ires. 

Another rest* s *a 3ne si^e-"~".enfal 
procedures ofthe "pre" zr^ue a-e so 
contrary to knewr OSfJud txcr= 
principles thaiaiestsuDecr^iouc 'ikely 
become u^ac ■:::■;- = ;~:-e= " v~:= 
tying were the lesl rxxs. 

Finally of course, tv fesuts are 
inconclusive in vie* ztzre ^=c: ma: only 
"spontaneous" and Moaned practitioners 
will submit theniseNes t Esr^-j by The 
current scientific PiuTdefErs 

As a basic suggesScrr^ Doer "pro' and 
"con" groups, you couc effiftxe how the 
observed phenor-e^a zar occur *;hin 
known scientific la* and pnropte. instead 
of assuming that they c 

All the needed keys a 

= r jrl It It.', ?Jld 

= = ■ _"£ - shafer 
■-t=- ::f :-:o. 




By Kenneth Brewer 

This month, in London, the 
International Whaling Commission 
(IWC) will convene for the 
thirty-first time. Delegates from the various 
member nations will debate, once again, 
the fate of the planet's whales. It's sure to 
be interesting. 

Last year at this time, IWC delegates 
were greeted by demonstrators. On one 
side were antiwhaling pickets bearing 
placards, reprieve for leviathan, said 
one. peace for the whales, said another. 
let the whales recover, said a third. One 
sign was illustrated with a drawing of a 
whale in whose bleeding back the flags of 
Japan and the Soviet Union, the two 
remaining big whaling powers, were 
implanted by a harpoon, as go the whales, 
so goes the sea, the sign prophesied. At 
the door of the Mount Royal Hotel, where 
the convention was held, a person in a 
killer-whale suit offered each new arrival a 
flipper to shake. Most delegates accepted 
the flipper with a smile, even those from 

The cut of the killer-whale suit was 
remarkably true to the shape of a whale, 
until you glanced down. Protruding from 
beneath the black-cloth flukes was a pair 
of very long, bare, slender male feet. The 
feet were pale, testifying to the sun- 
lessness of English summers. They were 
dirty, testifying to the grime of the 
underground. They were eloquent of 
waterless London flats in which man's 
inhumanity to whale is decried, through a 
haze of hash smoke, late into the night. 
Above all, they were incongruous. Feet are 
the principal items of terrestrial apparatus 
that whales dispensed with in becoming 
whales. And whales are nothing if not 

On the other side were pro-whaling 
pickets, members of a Japanese 
seamen's union, whose placards 
protested the environmentalist threat to 
their livelihood. The antiwhaling 
demonstrators, for the most part, were 
scruffy and .youthful. The Japanese 
seamen were'well scrubbed and 
somewhat older. If the antiwhalers had a 
characteristic demeanor it was one of 
earnest anguish. The Japanese seamen's 

16 OMNI 

demeanor way -hat o" uncertain joviality 

There is every reason to expect the 
same again this month. The ritual of the 
annual meeting is maddeningly familiar, to 
those who have attended several times. 
The placards and k ller-wnaie suit will be 
dusted off and will march again. The 
Japanese whaling men will countermarch, 
demonstrating their uneasy good humor. 
The bobbies assigned to police the crowd 
will circulate, looking amused by it ail, but 
only marginally so. Occasionally 
messages will crackle over the small 
walkie-talkies that London's finest carry 
under their epaulets. The bobbies will 
-incline their heads to listen. 

A large Alaskan Eskimo contingent 
attends meetings of the IWC. Eskimos are 
the planet's oldest whalers, having begun 
the practice four millennia ago. To the past 
two meetings they have brought a model 
of an umiak, a small version of the vessel 
in which they have pursued whales from 
time immemorial. The skin of the model, as 
for the real thing, is seal skin stretched 

■Vfci^e :'/'~ia;e ■■; nau'Sd aboard jypznesfi ship. 

drum-tight and translucent over a skeleton 
of wood. The doll crew is dressed in fur 
parkas, and each man strokes with a 
miniature, leaf-biaded wooden paddle. 
The umiak's curves are as beautiful as 
those of any craft ever designed by man, 
the lines as clean as those of any rocket or 
dhow or clipper ship. The Eskimo dolls will 
paddle it across piles of pro-whaling 
literature on a table outside the conference 

Unless the Bedouins, say. or the Masai 
are admitted to the IWC althe last 
moment— and this is most unlikely— the 
Eskimos will be the most impressive 
people at the conference. Eskimos are an 
unusual form of Htyno sap/ens because ot 
the extreme latitudes in which they live. I it 
the spot on their name tags that shows the 
organization to whicn they belong will be 
the word Inuit. "The People." This is the 
Eskimos' name for Themselves, a name 
from the days when -na^v E=*jmo tribes, in 
their polar isolation beSeved themselves 
to be the only humans on Earth. There will 
be representatives— whaling captains, 
mostly — from each of the arctic villages 
where subsistence whaSng ts still alive. 
With rolling, bowlegged gaits, the whaling 
captains will enterthe hall. Chairs will be 
vacant, but the captains will prefer to 
stand. They will watch the proceedings 
tirelessly expressionlessJy like men 
scanning ice floes for the rjistant blow of a 
whale. {There will be, in fact a whale 
before them, the stylized animal painted 
on the IWC banner above the chairman's 
dais, but this is not the whate they know. 
The IWC's whale seems to be a sperm 
whale It lacks, at any rate, the distinctive 
dip in the rostrum that marks the bowhead. 
that endangered species 'he Eskimos 
depend on.) Western clothes won't hide 
the polar gale that each captain carries 
about with him. Each tace will squint into it. 

Last year's IWC meeting nearly ended 
in violence. On the final day of the session 
a group of radical environmentalists 
commandeered the chairman's dais in 
protest. The demonstration was peaceful 
until the end, when one of the 
demonstrators, an Australian, poured 
blood on members of the Japanese 



By Mark R.Chartrand III 

■ M ■ hat has the moon done for 
fl! I ill I you lately? Have you sailed 
U «J on the tide? Perhaps you've 
been a bit loony? Did you feel lycanthropic 
on June 10, or will you on the ninth of this 
month? Did your moonlighting pay for your 
moonshine? Did you recite "Jack and Jill"? 

All these phrases refer to the moon, our 
natural satellite and by far the most 
noticeable object in the night sky. Its 
changing shape and brightness have long 
fascinated watchers. Consequently, moon 
lore, beliefs, and stories have greatly 
enriched our culture. 

The moon was a natural timekeeper: An 
American Indian word for "moon" and 
our word month, both measures of time, 
attest to that. Indeed, modern linguists 
have found, in the prehistoric language 
Proto-Indo-European, a root word they 
write as "me. No one knows for sure how it 
was pronounced, but from it sprang bur 
words moon, measure, mensuration, 
meter, and even meal (a measured, 
appointed time of day). 

Just as the 29.5-day-long cycle from 
new moon to new moon gave us the 
month, the seven- or eight-day intervals 
irom new moon to first quarter, first quarter 
to full moon, and so on, gave us Ihe week. 
Before clocks became common, people 
often carried moondials, to tell the time at 
night, as well as sundials for ihe day. 

Consider some of the descendants of 
the Anglo-Saxon word mona ("moon"), 
with their definitions: mooning — 
wandering aimlessly or exhibiting 
infatuation; mooncalf —a fool from birth 
(from the supposed evil influence of the 
moon on unborn children); moonfaced — 
■ round-faced; mao/i/jo/frf — to hold a 
second job; by the light of the moon; 
moonscape — a harsh, desolate region; 
moonshine— nonsense, or booze (not 
because illegal stills are operated at night 
to hide from the "revenooers," but from an 
older time, when brandy was smuggled at 
night into England from France); 
moonstruck— crazed; moony — dreamy or 

"Spooning in the Moon" oying 01 

18 OMNI 

! favorite aspect of lunar lore. 

Then there are words from the Latin root. 
tuna: lunatic; lunette, both an architectural 
feature and an old name for a small 
telescope; loony, also spelled luny; and 
lunate, crescent-shaped. 

Selene, the Greek name, gave us a 
name for an element, selenium, and a 
clear mineral, selenite. 

The Anglo-Saxon and Latin roots show 
the very old beliefs in the effect of the 
moon on people. If the moon can affect the 
tides, so the argument goes, surely it can 
affect people and change their nature. 
This is a great oversimpiifi cation, for the 
tides reflect more than just a pulling by the 
moon. They are caused by the variation in 
the pull of the moon on distant parts of the 
earth. Certainly the difference between , 
the pull ot the moon on your head and that 
on your feet is very slight. 

And yet there are behavioral correlations 
between people and the moon. The 
female menstrual cycle is probably the 
most obvious. Police depalments will 
often tell you that crime rates are higher at 
times of full moon. Some psychiatrists 
suspect that more people behave 
abnormally during the new and the full 
moon. As far as I know, no one has yet 
done a good statistical survey to 
document these effects. 

One old belief held that moonlight could 
harm an unborn child. Even to sleep in the 
light of the moon was thought to cause 
lunacy The most dramatic purported lunar 
effect is lycanthropy, in which people turn 
into wolflike creatures (from'yfcos, "wolf," 
and anthropos. "man"). .As every 
horror-film watcher knows, only a silver 
bullet can kill a werewolf. Silver has long 
been sacred to the moon for its similar 
luster, just as gold has been sacred to the 

We should not forget the phrase "once in 
a blue moon." It turns out that with just 
enough impurities in the air to scatter light 
properly, the moon (and the sun) really can 
appear blue. So the phrase, taken to mean 
"rarely." has a basis in fact. 

More often than once in a blue moon 
farmers used to consult their almanacs to 
find out when to plant, when to harvest, 
and when to do other farm chores. Some 


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By Dr. Bernard Dixon 

The last few years have wilnessed a 
subtle shift in the basic theme ot 
medical scandal stories published 
on both sides of the Atlantic. In the early 
Seventies we were warned, day by day, of 
health hazards associated with 
substances old and new. The thalidomide 
tragedy, for example, led, quite rightly, to 
stricter standards. But journalists were not 
satisfied. The most remote evidence of 
possible hazards was highlighted to 
confirm that such regulatory bodies as the 
Food and Drug Administration were by no 
means strict enough. Today those same 
watchdog agencies are coming under 
increasing criticism for being too cautious 
and authoritarian. As a result of their 
judgments, we are told, patients are 
sometimes denied potentially valuable 
drugs— which is just as calamitous as 
allowing them to consume ioxic drugs. 

The most curious example so far of this 
new wave of criticism is one that begs the 
whole purpose of medical science. Earlier 
this year officials of the U.K. Department 
of Health and Social Security declined (in 
a sufficiently damning letter) requests by 
Dr Ian James, of the Royal Free Hospital in 
London, to conduct experiments with 
people who had failed their driving tests 
because of excessive nervousness. Dr. 
James wanted to find out whether 
oxyprenolol. a member of the beta-blocker 
group, might possibly alleviate anxieties 
and thus allow otherwise competent 
drivers to perform to their full capabilities. 

Beta blockers do exactly what the name 
implies. They block the beta receptors on 
the surface of cells, preventing adrenaline 
from binding at these sites— a reaction 
that prolongs and intensifies the effects of 
a stressful situation. These compounds 
could easily become the panaceas of the 
1980s, just as tranquilizers have been the 
panaceas of the past decade. The 
difference is that the new drugs act on 
cells throughout the body, instead ot only 
on cells in the brain. 

Dr James is a viola player and at the 
end of 1977 he reported a series of tests 
highlighting just one potential application 
of beta blockers; boosting the morale of 
nervous musicians. The location for his 
20 OMNI 

experiments was London's Wigmore Hall, 
a venue that has seen disasters for many 
aspiring professional soloists. The design 
of the investigation was simplicity itself. 
Thirty-four healthy young string players 
(not selected for undue nervousness) 
performed on separate days after 
receiving oxyprenolol or a placebo (an 
inert compound). Their playing was then 
assessed by two experts who did not 
know which of the two compounds the 
musicians had received. The aim of the 
experiment was to determine the effect of 
what Dr. James termed "stage fright— the 
natural anxiety and stress of performing in 
■public." He chose string players because 
he felt the adverse effects of tremor would 
be more noticeable in them. 

As reported in The Lancet (1977, Vol. II, 
p. 952), the outcome was striking. Musical 
quality improved significantly— especially 
on the first occasion when the players took 
oxyprenolol. All aspects of their playing 
improved: right- and left-hand dexterity, 
. intonation, and control of tremor. Although 
the overall mean improvement was only 5 
percent, some subjects registered 30 
percent, and one registered 73 percent. 
As the musicians were not selected for 

Do medical safeguard* .';..■.-.';;'?,- pttery musicians? 

being particularly prone to anxiety, the 
results suijgesi T-s. some people might 
benefit greasy rrcrr- s^z" jneofcation. 

Earlier this year ftntfi Hal reported in 
New Statesman (March 16. p 354) on the 
positive effecss of beta DOcKe^s on a jittery 
violinist with a major London orchestra. His 
nervousness. Ahi-z" 1 "az zee-- cad 
enough to spread to those around him. 
disappearec a~e - -= iz^~~ z '?.■. .veeks 
on beta-blocker treaement Hal. a 
harpsichcd p-a-,e' afeoo**essed 
satisfaction afterbyvv] anfprenotol herself 
before performnc; in pubfc 

So who «• dan* a»gue tts such 
therapy should be Mrihheid? One reason 
for caution is. cf cruse. Sie risk of side 
effects. In some nstances oryprenolol ' 
can cause such bocnerscrre aThough 
relatively harmless, reactions as rashes, 
vomiting, and haJucnaeons Oxyprenolol 
comes from the same drug farreiy as 
practolol, vnhich uras femoved from the 
market after bang fexre to produce an 
extremely serious condfeor. scerosing 

But if beta btockeo or sometnjng like 
them, were Droves tcserf y safe, 
what then? Woutt tie puncan erhic still 
dictate thai fimtms musoans must be 
left with tiresome m*ches and thai 
otherwise skiled car dn%ers be denied a 
little help to get themtfvough a fretful 
rjeriod with ai aammmrt 

pharmacology; The»e is much raft these 
days about the instant Jeccurse to drugs 
to douse soda! and patera- p-oc-iems. 

escsc ;~ s -:e . ~.t~ 3_~ ; ~odern 
equivalent of Aldous Huriey's soma pill is 

quite :: "e'e":— .: - ' ""■: . "-: ■:■---=- 
sr-fr, --' :■ "="- ~e :::z= ;-; :::ai!y 
unhelpful undercurrents c* lie psyche, not 
to befuddle one sndrrtlaiEy After all, the 
pathologically nervous cefcst or car driver 
is in a real sense befe.vx; sbncvaily 
when under inornate scrjcrr. 

Beta blockers ma, rifeMMely prove not 
to be the ans*^ Assuring rx>*ever, that 
the perfect soma pil far such 
people to normaSy were found, who would 
deny them mecr-a: :■-" 00 ■; 



By William K. Stuckey 

It is not clear whether Charlie Rose 
seeks the ever-growing Mind-Over- 
Far-Out (Mofo)vote — Governor Jerry 
Brown of California certainly does— or 

what Rose would do with it if he got it. The 
Mofo vote is not very conspicuous in the 
tidewater district of North Carolina that 
Rose represents as a Democratic 
congressman. But Charlie (that's what he 
puts on his letterhead) certainly has the 
pulpit and connections, possibly the 
power, and definitely the inclination to 
produce a Mofo spectacular. 

What Representative Rose would like to 
do is call a congressional hearing soon to 
confirm publicly that the CIA and the 
Pentagon have successfully demonstrated 
that certain psi powers are real and can be 
used for intelligence purposes, and the 
Soviet Union is probably ahead of the 
United States. 

Rose is the chairman of the evaluation 
subcommittee of the House Permanent 
Committee on Intelligence and, as such, is 
a principal watchdog of spook affairs. In 
that capacity, he has recently witnessed 
several classified demonstrations of 
"remote viewing" by Stanford Research 
Institute (SRI) and intelligence per- 
sonnel—in which the experimental 
subjects "viewed" persons and places 
thousands of kilometers away in certain 
"interesting" countries. 

"All I can say is that if the results were 
faked, oursecurity system doesn't work," 
Rose told me cryptically. "What these 
persons 'saw' was confirmed by aerial 
photography There's no way it could have 
been faked." 

As for the Soviet Union's undertakings in 
this area, Rose disclosed, "I've been told 
by the CIA that the Russians are very 
interested in psychic phenomena and that 
their whole effort is underground. They 
have a national screening program to 
detect mathematical, artistic, or psychic 
abilities in schoolchildren. The CIA, on the 
other hand, spends next to nothing in this 
area, exceptto find out what the Russians 
are doing." 

The witnesses Rose would call include 
CIA officials who, Rose said, "know this 
remote-viewing stuff works but who have 

24 OMNI 

been blocked by publicity-shy superiors." 
Another key witness might be Dr. Robert 
Jahn, dean of engineering and applied 
science at Princeton University, who 
with graduate student Carol Curry is 
developing an instrument to detect 
small-scale psychokinetic effects— not of 
the theatrical Geller spoon-bending type, 
but a more modest effort to determine 
whether a subject might "will" a grain of 
sand to move. 

Diehard Mofoers will also recognize the 
names of other potential witnesses, such 
as Edgar Mitchell, the astronaut who 
conducted an ESP experiment (with 
apparently ambiguous results) between 
the moon's surface and Earth; Dr. Harold 
Puthoff and Russell Targ, two Stanford 
Research Institute psychic researchers 
whose reports, claiming that literally every 
person they have tested can perform 
remote viewing, have been published in 
Nature and the IEEE Proceedings; and Dr. 
Willis Harman, an SRI futures researcher, 

Rep. Charlie Rose in front ot the Capitol. 

widely sought are' -.. major corporations 
and foundations, who is so convinced of 
the reality of psychic phenomena that he 
"wouldn't walk across the street to witness 
alevifation " 

Congressman Rose, like Harman and 
the other potential witnesses, in other 
words, has seen and believes. 

"Some of the intelligence people I've 
talked to know thai remote viewing works, 
although they still block further research 
on it, since they daim it's not yet as 
accurate as s=:e := r -:■:::: -sphy." Rose 
asserted. "But it seems to me that it would 
be a hell of a cheap raoar system. And if 
the Russians have it and we don't, we are 
in serious trouble. This country wasn't 
afraid to look into the strange physics * 
behind lasers and semiconductors, and 
I don't think it shoukj be afraid to look 
at this." 

When I first met him, Charlie was 
concerned that some of the academic 
debunkers of the psychic— whose 
principal spokesman is Martin Gardner, of 
Scientific American — might stifle 
objective. High Science research in this 
fiercely debated area Hal ^e might even 
"investigate" the dtbunfcjrs adds another 
dimension to the nea-i'3-s Rose proposes. 
Charlie might also *nd Iwnsetf in a 
locked-hom mode aflh sor-e of the keen- 
est thinkers of the day Ek John Wheeler, 
for example, a renowned physicist, who 
wrote the first pace' on nuclear fission with 
Niels Bohr and who associated with 
Einstein for more ban 20 years, recently 
suggested the exix.s>o>" c* 
parapsychoses groups from the 
respected umbre-aorganizaflon, the 
American Associafjon for the 
Advancement of Soence. 

But Wheeler anc Ga'cre' are not close 
to His Leadership and Democratic 
Highness Boston's own Thomas "Tip" 
O'Neill, and Charfe Rose >s Rose fits 
some, but far from a of me stereotypes 
that New York p jwtlMfc woud attach to 
Southern congress—^. N is fcue that he is 
a Southern Presbyterian, and a "religious 
one"; that he loves fas c^anmanships of 
various agriculiura' suDCcmmrttees on 
poultry, dairy products, and tobacco 

N PAGE 112 



By James Delson 

The eighth International Paris 
Festival of Science Fiction and 
Fantasy Films, which convened 
(or ten days this March, was the largest 
gathering of its kind ever held in Europe. 
Some 50,000 fans converged on the Rex 
Cinema, Paris's largest movie theater, and 
nearly half of them were turned away. 
Inside, science fiction and fantasy filled 
the screen; outside, riots, traffic jams, and 
defiant devotees tilled the streets. 

"No one believed there would be an 
audience for this type of film when I 
started the festival in 1972," explained 
Alain Schlockoff, who created and 
organized the testival, "but the number of ■ 
people attracted every year has grown 
enormously We've had to .move to larger 
and larger theaters over the years, but 
there still isn't nearly enough space to 
accommodate everyone." Founder and 
editor of L'Ecran Fantastique , France's 
only publication devoted entirely to fantasy 
and science-fiction films, Schlockoff has 
been a life-long fan of the genre. His 
passionate pursuit of fellow fanatics has 
led him, through the magazine and the 
festival, almost single-handedly to 

galvanize the French science-fiction film 
audience into a recognizable force. 

Of course, the organization of such a 
group is still to come. With neither tunds 
for proper security nor fully subtitled prints 
of many of therms being shown in the 
festival, Schlockoff's problems at this 
year's gathering were manifold. Police 
were called upon to disperse the angry 
crowds that had been denied entrance to 
the overcrowded theater. Their anger was 
justified, however, because many people 
had stood in line in the rain for up to five 
hours to get in. While the traffic jams 
spread, paralyzing the area for hours, the 
films rolled on inside— two, three, 
sometimes four a night — from early 
evening until 1 a.m. Though there weren't 
any real riots inside the theater, the 
spectators were the most vocal, 
unsophisticated, and least considerate I 
have ever seen. Their antics included 
fleets of paper airplanes hurled toward the 
movie screen and buckets of confetti 
poured from Ihe top balcony, as weil as 
shouted jokes, curses, songs, and 
catcalls at any time the screen was not 
filled with horror, violence, or mayhem of 

Haliowcer 1 >v 
26 OMNI 

n Ar-.ipjiain films !c oo s- 

the lowest common denominator. Though 
Schlockoff's festival is the biggest in 
Europe, it is also representative of the wide 
gap between science-fiction film fans and 
the readers of "serious" mainstream 

"It's quite simple," explained Stan 
Barets, owner of Paris's largest sci- 
ence-fiction bookshop. "The people who 
come to the festival are generally kids 
who have dropped out of high school and 
who work in unskilled jobs. They don't 
come to see imaginative stories or good 
performances. They come tor the blood. 
Perhaps only twenty percent of the 
audience has ever read a science-fiction 
novel. French readers are the opposite. 
They are generally well educated and ► 
have discarded the science-fiction cinema 
because there is so little that's worth 
seeing compared to the riches available in 
print. There's almost no crossover." 

Schlockoff has elicited an immense 
response from the public, but he has 
found himself caughl in a double-bind 
situation. Since the festival has been 
unable to attract large numbers of impor- 
tant films (i.e., classy big-budge! 
productions), audiences have grown ac- 
customed to experiencing the event 
instead of trying to appreciate the 
pictures. Because the audiences are both 
demanding and unsophisticated, the 
major film companies have generally 
avoided submitting their movies lo the 
potential embarrassment of this ordeal. 
Moreover, the festival cannot really help a 
good film, because Schlockoff's awards, 
like those given by most festivals, carry 
little weight with Ihe general audience. 

This year's entries were dominated by 
American-made horror tilms, unlikely 
to be released in first-run theaters 
in the States. These movies, including 
Summer of Fear , Tourist Trap, Devil Times 
Five, Alien Factor. The Bermuda 
Depths , Alien Zone, Noctuma . and 
Sanctuary ior Evil . were Supplemented 
by a sprinklirg of better Duality fantasy 
and SF films from Italy, a smattering of 
Star Wars ripoffs, and a few excellent 
U.S.-made chillers. 

The Rex Cinemri is a betulif jl d.nosaur 



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Name (Print) 







By James Delson 

■ f^ ■ hile attending the eighth 
I ill ln,erna, ' ona ' P aris Festival of 
«V «V Fantasy and Science Fiction 
Films, I had the opportunity to talk with 
several leading figures in the French 
science-fiction field. The picture that 
emerged from our conversations was one 
of an American-dominated market in 
which European talents are fighting to 
refain their national character while 
striving to enlarge their influence over the 

Like five cogs turned by the same 
master wheel, ihe various aspects of the 
French SF scene are independent but 
interconnected: books, magazines, fan- 
tastic art in comic-book form, television, 
and film. Each has affected all the others, 
with books leading in popularity Only 
fantastic art, however, has found a place 
for France on the international scene. 

The audience of hard-core SF readers is 
estimated between 10,000 and 50,000. As 
the important novels sell about 30,000 
copies, and best sellers often top 200,000, 
it seems to be a healthy market. The most 
popular author among critics and serious 
fans is Philip K. Dick, an American whose 
books deal with concepts and issues 
rather than with adventure. Dedicated 
readers regard science fiction as a 
political and social forum, not as escapist 
entertainment. This fact is reflected in the 
work of the French writers, but, ironically, 
their books are considered to be too 
political by most of the audience. As a 
result, caught between the desires of their 
readers and their own goals, French 
authors take a place behind the unchal- 
lengeable Americans. 

Though Dick is the most respected 
author in France, he doesn't sell more than 
60,000 copies of any given title. More 
Iraditional writers, such as A. E. Van Vogt, 
Isaac Asimov, Ray Bradbury Arthur C. 
Clarke, and H. R Lovecraft, often pass 
200,000 in sales; Harlan Ellison and John 
Brunner hover around 40,000. The market 
is not growing very quickly, hampered by, 
among other things, the ten-year gap 
between American publication and 
European translations of most novels. 

Translations from English take a long 

28 OMNI 

time, and — what is even more unfortu- 
nate— almost none of the work done in 
other European countries is ever 
translated into French. Living on a 
continent of varied tongues and cultures, 
Europe's science-fiction community is 
virtually nonexistent. The only continuing 
attempt to survey available work is being 
made by France's sole SF literary 
magazine, Fiction, 


With more than 300 issues behind it, 
Fiction, the French edition of America's 
Science Fiction and Fantasy magazine, is 
the_ oldest established science-fiction 
publication in the country, Though editorial 
policy dictates that each issue must 
contain several short stories that had 
already appeared in the U.S. edition, it has 
been possible to use the additional space 
to feature up-and-coming French SF 
authors and important foreign writers as 
well. Translations of short stories from 
Germany, Italy Japan, Poland, Spain, and 
Sweden have appeared, and an all-Italian 
issue is soon to be published. 
There is a consid sble ■■ inference 

Science fiction is 

s business in France. 

betweer sc e':e- J : _ :~ ^ ;:;?'? _| France 
and those in the United States. Most of 
the French devotees are intellectuals, 
students, and academicians who are 
attracted by the Freudian aspects of 
Dick's work and the sociopolftJcal work of 
other American and of French authors. 
Relatively few books are published in the 
space-opera or sword-and-sorcery area. 
Those whose interests lie in adventure 
tales must turn to comic-art magazines, 
such as Pilote and Metai Hunant, for light 

Comic art in France is far more 
sophisticated than in America. Pilote has 
launched a raft of France's leading 
fantastic artists. Allowed far more time 
than American artists to complete their 
stories, French cartoonists will work on one 
panel of a ten-page dqp far several days; 
their U.S. counterparts must chum out 
their art with less attention to detail. The 
French artists are not well compensated 
by their magazines, but they do better 
through books that offer collections of their 

Metal Hurlant, a more daring and 
colorful comic-art magazine, four years 
old now, has become an international 
success. Some 90,000 copes are sold in 
French markets each month, and its U.S. 
franchise. Heavy '/=:= ---■:$ —ore than 
200,000. A combination ot lantasy and 
science fiction, the ^agszJ-e nas drawn a 
readership that is closer to tne average 
American reader than any other French 
publication is. With its enormous success, 
Metal Hurlant is about to begin production 
of an animated television senes and a 
feature-length film; futL-e C =ns call for a 
widening of its audience potential through 
advanced-marketing tec-.- ques. 
Moreover, some of its better-known artists 
have already influenced the American film 
business. The costumes used tn Alien 
(noted last month), for example, were 
designed by Moebius. 

Entwined through mutual reliance. 
fantastic-art and comic-ar: ~agazines are 
nearly inseparable Bu: a"=" .-, - wider 
recognition through books that contain the 
four- to six-pari series tha: -s-a >■ appear 
in magazines. The books have been 

N PAGE 134 



By Bibi Wein 

Playing music that people want to 
hear has always been the idea of 
radio. But for the first time we 
have the technology to do it. Not only can 
we prove people will like a record, but we 
can tell programmers where and how to 
play it." 

So says twenty-six-year-old radio 
consultant Lee Abrams, who relies on 
scientitic research to shape the sounds of 
the more than 75 radio stations that 
subscribe to his Superstars format. 

Through the Atlanta-based consulting 
firm Kent Burkhart/Lee Abrams and 
Associates, Abrams and his staff advise 
client stations on every aspect of on-air 
sound up to— but not yet including— the 
exact words a disc jockey should say. And 
within two years after signing up, 
according to Abrams, the average 
Superstars station improves its overall 
rating by 225 percent. 

Market research has never been 
applied to an art form as intensively as 
Abrams has applied it to music. Nor has it 
been used so assiduously by any other 
medium. Even in commercial television, 
programming decisions are made, as 
they've always been, in the executive 
suite, not in the lab. 

Focus groups, sound-lab tests, 
listener-environment studies, 
melody-retention tests, and ongoing 
surveys conducted by local stations, along 
with innovative analyses of record-sales 
data, are among she techniques that 
Abrams combines to determine the 
suitability of an album for Superstars 

One of the first things he does with a 
new album is to distribute 100 copies on 
the street to people who will listen to it at 
home for a week, then rate it. Past studies 
have shown that among 100 persons 
chosen at random 20 can pick a hit each 
time. Those 20, once sported, continue to 
test records until — usually after three to six 
tests— their spontaneity burns out, or, as 
Abrams puts it, "they start catching on to 
what we're doing," Not that they were 
deceived, but "we don't tell people eighty 
radio stations are going to play this record 
if you like it." 

30 OMNI 

However, that is exactly what will 
happen, provided the album does well in 
other testing situations, such as focus 

A typical focus group might consist of a 
number of sixteen- to twenty -year- old 
males gathered in a room where they are 
questioned by a skilled researcher and 
observed through a one-way mirror by 
others on the Burkhart/Abrams staff- 
Questions range from those about specific 
songs or musicians to: "What would 
happen if your parents found you 
smoking dope?" 

In addition to ongoing studies of new 
and established albums, Abrams often 
does one-time experiments to answer 
such questions as "Why do people over 
twenty-four generally dislike hard rock 
and roll?" 

"We got a group of people in their late 
twenties and sat them down under 
headphones with a Boston album," 
Abrams told Omni in a recent interview, 
"Generally the reaction was: 'Can't handle 
it, Too loud.' Then we took a control group 
and equalized all the highs out of the 
record so it was all bass and midrange. 
The reaction was positive. The problem 

■' oo Ab.'-ims. rnc «;z?rc o? r,?* rsco'd 'osearoh 

with intense hard rock is just the high 
sound frequencies— the screeching 
guitars and synthesizers." 

With a graphic equalizer, Abrams 
measures the exact frequency that 
listeners will tolerate. He applies such 
data both to the play list and to the 
technical sound of a station, in this case 
by knocking off the highs a little and 
emphasizing the bass. Another study 
revealed that women have a particularly 
positive response to rich, clear, bassy 
signals. Abrams urged clients to adjust 
their equipment accordingly. 

Melody- retention testing, a laboratory 
version of Name That Tune, is used 
primarily to isolate the musical elements 
that people are responding to. Subjects 
are exposed to three or four tunes and a ' 
week later are tested on what they 
remember They're not played the whole 
song this time, nor even a few original 
bars, but merely a bass line, a few chords, 
maybe a guitar solo performed on a piano. 

By packing a song full of things that 
melody-retention tests show are retained, 
Abrams is convinced he can mass- 
manufacture singles and have a hit every 
time. "We don't want to— and can't do it 
legally anyway— but it wouldn't be hard. 
It's just a matter of analyzing certain 
critical things, '-Me the lyric content, the 
instrumentation, the frequency" 

Abrams is more interested in the notion 
that every musical key "has its own vibe." 
He believes he can determine what keys 
are most effective for different artists to 
play in. "This hasn't been fully tested yet. 
but I feel pretty confident it works. We 
might find that the most popular 'power' 
records with an eighteen- to twenty-four 
all-male audience are in E, and that the 
songs appealing to another group are in 
A. It's difficult to put this into a radio format 
and actually program by key, but for an 
artist it can be valuable information." 

I asked Abrams, who plans to become 
a recording artist himself (guitar, key- 
boards), how he'd feel about that kind of 
input. "It's very frightening— 1984. But the 
fact is that information is there. If NASA 
can send a man to the moon, nobody 
should be surprised that we can figure out 



By Allan Hendry 

mo subset of UFO reports has 
aroused the public's interest or 
supporled the extraterrestrial 
hypothesis more than the 1. 100-odd known 
accounts of close encounters of the third 
kind. The most dramatic of these have 
been abductions, including the 
celebrated experience of Betty and 
Barney Hill (see UFO Update, November 
1978). The Hills suffered a joint loss of 
memory after a distant observation of a 
UFO. Under hypnotic regression, they 
independently provided stories of medical 
examination at the hands of UFOnauts 
aboard a spaceship. 

Yet how many people are aware that this 
claim is only one of more than 160 similar 
tales in the UFO literature? That half of 
these have occurred since 1970? And 
that a large proportion of these 
events— including some of the most 
widely reported— required the use of 
hypnotic regression to break through the 
participants' amnesia? 

Equally surprising is the consistent 
sequence of events provided by all of 
these people under hypnosis. A 1976 
abduction (which I closely followed) of a 

couple in western Kansas has all the same 
elements as the Hills' experience in 1961. 
Both cases involved witnesses who, under 
hypnosis, described similar events. Both 
couples spoke of boarding a UFO 
(spacecraft) against their will and of 
undergoing extensive, often painful, 
physiological examinations by their 
humanoid "captors." Even long after their 
experiences the "abducfees" were aware 
of physical marks on their bodies without 
being consciously aware of what had 
caused them. In this recent incident 
"psychic" apparitions of the UFOnauts 
appeared to one of the witnesses some 
months after the abduction had occurred. 
Indeed, these elements are common to 
nearly all assertions that there was an 
abduction, both in this country and 

The question, of course, is whether the 
stories provided under hypnosis 
accurately portray events. It is widely 
known that police agencies have 
successfully used the techniques of 
hypnotic regression to aid in their 
investigation of crimes. In 1977, after three 
men in a van had kidnapped a busload of 

Often touted as a UFO, this object appealed on Apoilo 

32 OMNI 

I film as spacecraft left earth orbit. 

children in Chowchilla, California, the bus 
driver could not remember the license 
plate number on the van. Under hypnosis, 
however, he recalled it sufficiently well for 
the kidnappers to be apprehended. Such 
experiences have served to bolster public 
confidence in hypnotic regression 
universally. Such misconceptions as 
"perfect recall" or the inability to lie or 
fantasize under hypnosis are widespread. 

William McCall, M.D., aformer president 
of the American Institute of Hypnosis who 
has used the technique in 30 UFO cases, 
notes: "It is theoretically possible for a 
skilled hypnotist to make [a] person say or 
do anything under hypnosis when it 
comes to regression. This is because the 
patient is acutely aware of the hypnotist's, 
inflections, words, and body language. 
Since his primary desire is to please the 
hypnotist, he will often say things that are 
perhaps not completely true but may be 
tainted by [his] fantasy. I do believe that 
the abductees are unable to separate fact 
from subconscious fantasy." 

Dr. Leo Sprinkle, well known for his work 
in abductee regression, says, "It is possi- 
ble—but not likely, in my opinion— that 
abductees substitute a fantasy for an 
experience. It is not impossible for a sub- 
ject to lie or fabricate information while 
responding to hypnotic suggestion." 

My first reason for regarding UFO 
regressions with suspicion was provided 
by UFO researcher Ted Phillips, who 
listened to tape recordings of one UFO 
abductee's tale. This Missourian told of 
being taken on board a spaceship and 
being physically examined; he was taken 
briefly to another world and then returned 
to Earth. The "glitch" occurred when he 
was asked to describe his abductors' 
appearance. He made them seem so 
outrageous that the hypnotist asked him 
whether he was sure. Under hypnosis, he 
changed his mind, asserting that their 
appearances were something he had 
seen in a newspaper comics section. 

More recently UFO researchers on the 
West Coast performed a controlled 
experiment in UFO hypnosis and 
presented the results before a meeting of 
the American Psychological Association 



I carcely ten years ago, when the environment first 
became a cause celebre. practically everybody 
J agreed to befriend or defend it, But today numerous 
' scientists are discovering that to be for the environ- 
ment in an organized way means taking a stand against their own 
research. A bitter battle over guidelines for recombinant-DNA 
studiesrecently caused several well-known biologists to puli out 
of such groups as the Environmental Defense Fund (EDF), the 
Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC), and the Friends of 
the Earth (FOE). 

"We never expected . . .that we would be branded as polluters 
by the environmental movement," wrote James D. Watson (who 
won a Nobel Prize for his part in deciphering the structure of 
DNA) in the Washington Post. "For until recombinant DNA came 
along, we always thought we were on their side." Calling himself a 
friend of DNA. Watson withdrew his support from Robert Redford 
and the EDF 

Recombinant-DNA technology, first announced in 1974, en- 
ables scientists to transplant small quantities of genetic material 
from one species to another. By manipulating DNA exchange, 
geneticists hoped to better their understanding of basic cell 
functions and disease processes— and, in what sounded at first 
like a fantasy, to use the technique for making microorganisms 
produce needed hormones, such as insulin. 

Environmentalists, however, see many hazards in this work, 
including a possible "Andromeda Strain scenario," in which the 
earth is overrun by some lethal new microbe created in a lab. 

"The ecological-disruption potential is our major concern," 
says Pamela Lippe, assistant legislative director of FOE's Wash- 
ington office. "I think recombinant DNA is the most unforgiving 
technology we've ever developed, because the organisms have 
lives of their own. They can reproduce. At least when you deal 
with toxic chemicals, you have only as much as you create. Even 
radioactive wastes decay eventually. 

"We're not trying to stop science or recombinant DNA," Lippe 
continues. "We just want it to proceed slowly so we can have the 
benefits of this new capability without unnecessary risks." 

To that end, environmentalists lobbied in Congress to toughen 
the rules governing recombinant-DNA experiments. But since 
their objections surfaced just when scientists became con- 

vinced of the technology's relative safety, heads rolled in the 
ensuing fracas. Rene Dubos and Joshua Lederberg, two distin- 
guished biologists at Rockefeller University in New York City, 
opposed the environmentalist position on DNA— even though 
they were both members of the NRDC's board of trustees. Paul 
Ehrlich, of Stanford University, a FOE trustee, tried unsuccess- 
fully to change that body's opinion, and Lewis Thomas, president 
of the Sloan- Kettering Cancer Center, quit his post on the FOE 
advisory council. 

Environmental-group pressure delayed the issuing of the new 
recombinant-DNA guidelines from late October 1 978 to January 
1979 and won seats for two nonbiologists on the biosafety com- 
mittees that monitor local research activities. 

According to Norton Zinder, at Rockefeller, the objections from 
environmentalists came at least two years too late— after the 
issue had been amply debated by citizens' groups and long after 
scientists themselves had considered the risks. As one of the first 
to experiment with recombinant DNA, Zinder recalls how re- 
spectful early researchers were of the possible dangers. 

"We no sooner figured out how to do it," he says, "than we 
called an international conference and laid out rules for policing 
ourselves. We did that in 1974 and again in 1975. The govern- 
ment issued its first guidelines, through the National Institutes of 
Health, in 1976. and that's when conservation groups started 
speaking out. By that time, however, we had proved we were 
wrong about the potential dangers. The work turned out to be far 
safer than most disease -oriented studies." 

Zinder says the risk-assessment experiment that environmen- 
tal groups have been clamoring for is now completed, and it 
confirms the lack of danger in these investigations. (The results of 
the so-called Martin-Rowe experiment were scheduled for publi- 
cation in Nature when this month's Omni went to press.) 

"I have never blamed the public for being frightened of DNA," 
Zinder adds. "Genetics is a science that was born to be in 
trouble. It includes the whole nature-nurture debate, eugenics, 
in-vitro fertilization, even cloning. And while these issues have 
nothing to do with recombinant DNA, they remain inextricably 
linked in the minds of many people." He predicts another clash in 
five years, "when genetic engineering may be feasible." 




The idea at first sounds 
either nauseating or frighten- 
ingly science-fictional— 600 
million slimy, wriggling 
worms, eating the garbage 
of a medium-sized city and 
excreting a nutrient-rich 

But Earlhworms, Inc., of 
Elk Grove, Illinois, has con- 
vinced a number of Mid- 
western communities to 
consider the idea. Tests have 
shown that the worms, which 
would be kept in pens, can 
eat sludge and biodegrada- 
ble garbage. 

For example, a test in Or- 
lando, Florida, showed that 
1.5 acres of worms could 

2 three to five tons of 
a day. In Shelbyville 
County, Texas, a few 
thousand pounds of worms 
ate 3.600 feet of sewage 
sludge, six inches deep, 
every day, 

Earthworms, Inc., esti- 

mates that for a city of 
1 50,000 people, a worm farm 
would cost $9.5 million: 
$600,000 for the worms and 
the rest for the processing 
equipment to remove the 
nonbiodegradable material, 
which would be processed 
further or thrown out. The 
worms would eat up to five 
times their weight in gar- 
bage every day. The worm 
population would double 
every 60 days. 

'They are just ordinary 
redworms, the kind used as 
bait for fish," says Rex Tal- 
mage, Earthworms' general 
manager. "They won't grow 
big from all that garbage. 
They won't escape from their 
pens or wrap themselves 
around people and choke 
Ihem to death. But they can 
replace topsoil lost by ero- 
sion, give the. soil desper- 
ately needed organics, and 
help solve the garbage prob- 

—Stuart Diamond 

Earthworms, Inc., executive holds a group of his employees. "They 
won't wrap themselves around people and choke (hem to death:" 
36 OMNI 


What has three wrists, one 
elbow, two shoulders, a hand 
that not only grasps but 
sees, and its own self- 
contained brain and nervous 

An arm? Yes, of course, 
but not your everyday flesh- 
and-blood upper limb. This 
is the remote manipulator of 
fhe space shuttle, designed 
as a robot analog of the 
human arm. 

This futuristic device will 
be mounted in fhe cargo bay 
of the space shuttle orbiter, 
allowing the astronauts to 
reach outside without ever 
leaving their cabin. The 
equivalent of two telephone 
poles in length (15 meters), it 
will be able to manipulate 
objects as big as a bus— up 
to 18 meters long and 4.6 
meters wide— and weighing 
29,500 kilograms. 

To perform a wide variety 
of tasks— everything from 
repairing satellites to build- 
ing space stations— the de- 
vice had to match the dexter- 
ity of the human arm, Not 
surprisingly, it resembles the 
human arm in many re- 
spects. It has: 

• Six rotating joints— two at 
the shoulder, one at the el- 
bow, and three at the wrist. 

A hand of ingenious rotat- 
ing wire grippers. 
■ A skin of thermal blankets 
to protect it from the temper- 
ature extremes of outer 

• A nervous system of elec- 
tric sensors to measure its 
joint angles and rates of rota- 

• A computer brain to trans- 
late the commands of the 
shuttle aslronauts into coor- 

dinated movements. 

In addition, the manipu- 
lator has a sense that the 
human arm lacks: a 
t el evi si on -camera "eye" 
mounted on the wrist so the 

astronaut can see what his 
"hand" is doing. 

Buil! with lightweight ma- 
terials for the weightless en- 
vironment of outer space, 
the arm is not strong enough 
to be used on Earth. It can- 
not be tested in advance. 
Except for computer simula- 
tions and pretesting of indi- 
vidual elements, the arm will 
not actually be operated until 
launched on the first shuttle 
flight next year. 

The arm is being built by a 
consortium of Canadian in- 
dustries, sponsored by the 
Canadian government. 
Under an agreement with 
NASA, Canada will donate 
the first arm and NASA will 
purchase additional arms for 
future flights. 

— Dan Ross 


Astrophysicists have ar- 
gued for a decade whether 
the universe will expand 
forever or someday collapse 
and trigger, an other big 
bang. They may finally 
have their answer: II will 

Intheory the element 
deuterium should show 
whether the universe con- 
tains enough matter for grav- 
ity to cause another c.ontrac- 
tion. Given that much matter, 
physicists reason, the 
deuterium would have been 
so densely packed during 
the first three minutes after 
the big bang that it would all 
have fused into helium. 

(f primordial deuterium still 
exists in deep space, it 
means there was too little 
matter to cause fusion. In 
that case there must also be 
too little to pull the universe 
back in on itself. 

It turns out that interstellar 

osLJi-enum can still be found, 
Dr Arrio Penzias, a Nobel 
laureate physicist with Bell 
Laboratories, reports. Dr. 
Penzias discovered not free 
deuterium but hydrocyanic 
acid, which contains 

This molecule is much 
more common in space than 
gaseous deuterium and is 
easier to detect with Bell's 
microwave radiotelescope 
(shown below). 

Dr. Penzias is almost .sure 
the deuterium he located 
was formed when the uni- 
verse was born: It is ten 
times more abundant near 
our galaxy's edge, where 
primordial elements would 
be relatively undisturbed, 
than in the center, where 
most gas comes from 

The finding makes it 
nearly certain, he says, that 
the universe will continue to 
expand ad infinitum. 

— OwenOavies 


Almost a million electric 
vehicles ply the world's 
roads. Most are trucks that 
deliver milk and mail, but 
there are also about 50,000 
battery-operated cars, 
which are recharged 
through a conventional wall 
outlet used for heavy-duty 

The cars, which cost 
about $3,500 each, can 
travel at 50 mph and go .50 
miles between battery 
charges They operate al- 
most soundlessly, except for 
the slight whine of a motor. 

They look like 'conventional 
subcompact cars. In fact, 
some people have con- 
verted Volkswagens and 
other small cars into electric 
ones. They require little 
maintenance and are ideal 
for running errands, 

To encourage the use of 
electric cars, a number of 
utility companies now offer 
cheap, nighttime rates, 
when most of the power- 
plant capacity is idle. You 
plug in your car and go to 
sleep. With the improve- 
ments in battery tech- 
nology expected in the next 
lew years, 3 to 4 million elec- 
tric cars could be operating 
by the end of the century, es- 
timate federal officials. 

The alternate -energy an- 
swer to the electric car is the 
solar-electric car. One mod- 
el, developed in Israel, has 
solar cells on the roof that 
convert sunlight into elec- 
tricity to charge batteries. 
"The trick is to park the car in 
the sun," says Professor Ar'ye 
Braunstein. who developed 
the concept at Israel's 
Tel Aviv University— S.D, 


Two more searchers are 
joining the decades-old 
quest for the legendary Loch 
Ness monster: a pair of 

camera-carrying dolphins 
trained to seek out large 
swimming animals. 

The choice of dolphins is 
the latest innovation of Dr. 
Robert H. Rines, a Boston 
patent attorney who has 
probed the loch with 
cameras and sophisticated 
sonar for the past ten sum- 
mers. The seagoing mam- 
mals trained in Florida all 
winter and should be ready 
to join the hunt sometime this 

Though dolphins usually 
live in warm climes, they are 
well able to tolerate the cold, 
fresh Scottish waters, ac- 
cording to Howard Curtis, 
executive director of the 
Academy of Applied Sci- 
ence, which sponsors 
Rrnes's expeditions— O.D 




A major objection to beam- 
ing power, in the form of mi- 
crowaves, to Earth from 
solar-power satellites is the 

signal an interrupter control- 
ling power output to shape, 
dim, or douse the beam im- 

The scattering charac- 
teristics ot objects that might 

Artist's concept of a solar-power satellite in earth orbit: A good 
power source, but will the beam toast robins and fry airplanes? 

possible danger to birds— or 
people in airplanes— that 
would tly through the beam. 
Getting cooked to death in a 
747 or having toasted robins 
(all on you is not a pleasant 

Richard Dickinson, of the 
California Institute of 
Technology, may have come 
up with a solution, though. 
As reported in a recent issue 
of NASA Tech Briets , any- 
thing intruding in the path of 
the beam would alter its 
transmission and reflection 
characteristics. Dickinson's 
system would have comput- 
ers in the satellite transmitter 
and the ground-station re- 
ceiver instantly detect any 
changes in "the beam 
caused by such an intrusion. 
The computers would then 

38 OMNI 

fly through the microwave- 
power beam would be de- 
termined ahead of time and 
preprogrammed into the 
computers. A cloud of in- 
sects might be expendable; 
flocks of birds and passen- 
ger planes would not. 

— Joel Davis 


The perennial Impulse to 
tamper with Nature's fifty- 
fifty odds on gender (Aristot- 
le advised would-be parents 
of boys to arrange concep- 
tion during a north wind, the 
south wind being propitious 
for girls) has finaily borne 
scientific fruit. The first clini- 
cal trials of a sperm- 
separation technique in- 
vented by reproductive 

physiologist Ronald 
Ericsson, of Sausalito, 
California, indicate it raises 
the chance of having a boy 
to 75 percent. 

Ericsson's method takes 
advantage of the fact that 
y-beahng (male-producing) 
sperm swim faster than the 
x-bearing sperm do. By filter- 
ing sperm through layers of 
human serum albumin in a 
vertical glass column, he is 
able to isolate a sample 
composed of about 80 per- 
cent y-sperm at the bottom. 
Conception is then accom- 
plished through artificial in- 

The score so far— from 
Michael Reese Hospital in 
Chicago, where Dr. W Paul 
Dmowski is the high priest of 
clinical sex selection — is 
boys nine, girls three 
(discounting two girls born to 
forgetful couples who had 
intercourse within 24 hours 
of insemination). 

There's a serendipitous 

W. Paul Dmowski: Two forgetful 
couples skewed the results. 

spin-off, too. The sperm 
sample obtained also hap- 
pens to be free of abnor- 
mally shaped sperm and 
sperm with eccentric swim- 
ming patterns. If it turns out 
that eliminating odd-shaped 
sperm amounts to cleaning 
up the chromosomes (still an 
unknown), the sperm- 
separation technique could 
have far-reaching conse- 

Parents who want a 
female child still have to trust 
Mother Nature— or wait until 
Dr. Ericsson has time to 
begin lab trials of the girl- 
producing method he has 
"all worked out in my head." 

Do-it-yourself sex- selec- 
tion techniques— strange 
diets, exotic douches, and 
coital timing — still have their 
gurus and their long- 
suffering devotees. A Gen- 
der Selection Kit, put out by 
the National Gender Selec- 
tion Center in New York City, 
comes complete with ther- 
mometers, test tapes for 
measuring vaginal pH, 
douches of vinegar (for pro- 
ducing girls) or of baking 
soda (for boys), and a copy 
of Dr. Landrum Shettles's 
Sex Choice Manual. And in 
Manchester, England, a 
spermicide suppository 
called Choice will soon be 
placed on the market. Unfor- 
tunately, none of these home 
methods has been proved 
more effective than Aristot- 
le's formula. 

— LunaC. Grant 

"Scientists have odious 
manners, except when you 
prop up their theory; then 
you can borrow money of 
them. " 

—Mark Twain 


Chronic-pain sufferers 
may soon find relief— 
without drugs or going into 
the hospital— through the 
use of a wearable device 
that sends electricity into 
the brain. 

Developed by neurosur- 
geon Yoshio Hosobuchi, of 
the University of California at 
San Francisco, the ap- 
paratus relies upon tiny efec- 
trodes Implanted into the 
central part of the brain. 
When activated, these elec- 
trodes cause the release of 
beta endorphin, a recently 
discovered natural opiatelike 
substance involved in mod- 
ulating pain sensations. 

Wires extend down from 
the electrodes to a radio re- 
ceiver embedded in the pa- 
tient's chest. To turn on the 
stimulator, the patient simply 
places a smail radio trans- 
mitter over the receiver, 
which then sends direct cur- 

rent along the wires to the 
brain. After as little as 15 
minutes of stimulation, pain 
relief may last from a fBw 
hours to several days. 

Dr. Hosobuchi developed 
his technique to help pa- 
tients who responded to 
narcotic drugs but wished to 
avoid the risk of addiction. 
(When chronic pain cannot 
be alleviated by narcotics, 
Hosobuchi's method does 
not work, either) 

Of the 80 patients who 
have received these im- 
plants, there has been only 
one death due to the proce- 
dure. In general, Hosobuchi 
feels his technique has 
proved to be both safe and 
effective— particularly for al- 
leviating She type of chronic 
pain that arises from back- 
aches, cancer, and discom- 
fort in the lower extremities. 

Tolerance— the need for 
more and more frequent 
stimulation to obtain the 
same degree of pain 

relief— has been trou- 
blesome, but Hosobuchi has 
already come a long way to- 
ward solving this problem. 
He has found that 
(--tryptophan (an amino 
acid) is helpful in reversing 
tolerance— a discovery that 
holds important implications 
for the treatment of drug 

— Kathleen McAuliffe 


Police now have a new tool 
for finding otherwise unob- 
servable fingerprints— the 

Dusting is the most famil- 
iar method used to find 
fingerprints, but it's messy 
and doesn't always work. 
Ideally, the powder reveals a 
print by sticking to the oils 
and moisture left by finger- 
tips. But these oils evaporate 
after a few days, making the 
print undetectable. The 
powder also tends to stick to 
some surfaces, such as 
rubber and plastics, even If 
they're clean, making it im- 
possible to detect prints. 
Other methods are also 
used, but none of them can 
detect all fingerprints. 

The laser technique relies 
on fluorescence, in which 
molecules absorb light of 
one wavelength and reemit 
light at a longer wavelength; 
the same process is respon- 
sible for the bright colors in 
Day-Glo or blacklight prints. 
To detect fingerprints, a sur- 
face illuminated with blue 
laser light is observed 
through a special filter that 
absorbs the laser light but 
transmits the print in the form 
of yellowish fluorescence, 
explains Brian Dalrymple, of 

the Ontario Provincial Police, 
one of the developers of the 
new technique. 

The Ontario police have 
used the method to uncover 
afingerprint left on rub- 

berized electrical tape. 
Normally undetectable, the 
print was instrumental in a 
drug conviction. 

Some important detective 
work remainsto be done, 
however. No one yet knows 
what molecules fluoresce, or 
why only some fingerprints 
fluoresce. Scientists at the 
National Research Council 
of Canada and at the Xerox 
Research Center in Missis- 
sauga, Ontario, are trying to 
answer these questions, and 
develop ways to detect more 
fingerprints by fluorescence. 
It may even be possible to 
detect fingerprints that are 
months, or even years, old. 
Ontario police, meanwhile, 
are using the technique to 
try to solve crimes. 




Imagine a toaster thai de- 
livers news or music along 
with the toast. Or how would 
you feel il your new, expen- 
sive sports car stalled be- 
cause the car's electronic 
fuel-injection system was af- 
fected by a CB radio in the 
car alongside yours? 

Can you believe that shav- 
ing might be hazardous to 
health? Electric shavers 
have been known to interfere 
with the rhythm of implanted 
cardiac pacemakers. And in 
one hospital's intensive-cars 
unit, electronic life-support 
equipment malfunctioned 
because of interference from 
the hospital's system for 
paging doctors, 

These facts and many 
others are indicative of an 
emerging new consumer 
problem: the interference of 
electromagnetic signals with 
the operation of electrical or 
solid-state devices. 

EMI, electromagnetic in- 
terference, is a compara- 
tively new kind of air pollu- 
tion, Although it can't be 
seen or smelled, elec- 
tromagnetic "smog" might 
become a major environ- 
mental problem. 

"EMI will only grow worse 
as electronic devices be- 
come even more widespread 
and sources of EMI cor. me 
to multiply" said Ernest Am- 
bler, director of the National 
Bureau of Standards, at the 
bureau's second annual EMI 

And sources of EMI are 
multiplying. Today there are 
about 120 million television 
receivers in use in the United 
States and about 400 million 
radios, and millions of other 
electronic products. Micro- 
wave ovens, for instance, 
have grown to a $1.1-billion 
industry in just a little more 
ihan ten years, 

Because some of these 
products emit microwave 

Energy-density meter is used here to measure the radio-frequency 
energy level near a CB antenna mounted an a recreational vehicle. 
40 OMNI 

radiation, scientists and 
physicians are worried about 
possible health hazards 
posed by the increasing use 
of hand-held items, includ- 
ing two-way radios, a 
pocket-size television set, a 
wristwatch radio that uses 
the human arm as an an- 
tenna, and a personal elec- 
tronic diary that flashes im- 
portant appointments on a 
tiny screen. 

This radiation is a more in- 
sidious form of electro- 
magnetic pollution because 
it is capable of producing 
thermal effects that are in- 
jurious to body tissue. 
Nonthermal biological ef- 
fects that have been ob- 
served in experimental ani- 
mals include cancer and 

"The United States is on 
the threshold of an elec- 
tronics revolution, and to- 
day's EMI problems will pale 
beside those to be encoun- 
tered in the 1980s," said 
Chris M. Kendall, a private 
EMI consultant. 

-Phyllis Wollman 


Contrary to popular belief, 
the cuckoo is one of the 
smartest — and laziest— of 
all birds. The European 
cuckoo, in fact, is so clever 
that it gets other birds to 
raise its young. 

First the cuckoo seeks out 
other birds whose eggs most 
nearly resemble her own. 
(Some cuckoo eggs are 
blue, while others are speck- 
led.) Then she nudges the 
other bird's eggs out of the 
nest. Finally she lays her 
own eggs there. How does 
the cuckoo know what her 

eggs will look like before lay- 
ing them? Experts theorize 
that cuckoos simply seek out 
the nests of birds that re- 
semble their own "foster 

Theotherbirdsare, it 
seems, too stupid to realize 
the eggs are alien. The cuck- 
oo, meanwhile, flies off and 
sings its one-note call, gain- 
ing a reputation for idiocy. 

Only the European cuckoo 
is so clever. Its American 
counterpart, unschooled in 
Old World customs, builds 
its own nest— S.Q 


Build a greenhouse next 
to a power plant, say re- 
searchers at Cornell Univer- 
sity, and you may cut the 
cost of food production while 
putting waste heat to work. 

Most electric-power plants 
in the United States rely on a 
nearby body of water to 

keep them cool, explains 
David M. Stipanuk, of Cor- 
nell's Department of Agricul- 
tural Engineering, In winter, 
they take in water at 1 °C 
(35 c F)and spit it back out at 
7°or10/'C(45"or50- J F}.But 
if that warmed water de- 
toured through a 
greenhouse, Stipanuk 
thinks, it might be a prime 
source of heat for winter 

By August, Stipanuk's 
group will have buill a test 
model on campus. If a one- 
year trial proves successful, 
the group will construct a 
demonstration greenhouse 
system at the state-owned 
Astoria 6 power plant in New 
York City. 

"Most greenhouses are 
heated with radiators and 
fan;,.' Snpanuk says. "The 
only difference: here will be 
that the energy cornea irom 
the power plant's waste- 
not from burning fossil fuels 
inthe greenhouse." 

Stipanuk adds .that a simi- 
lar idea could be tried at 
power plants that use cool- 
ing towers (like Three Mile Is- 
land in Pennsylvania) in- 
stead of rivers or lakes, By 
diverting cooling -tower wa- 
ter, which is typically 27°to 
38 o Cf80 ,, to1G0''F), 
Stipanuk says, waste heat 
irom a Single power plant 
could warm 320 hectares of 

— Dava Sobel 


The concept of "appropri- 
ate" technology has entered 
even the unsophisticated 
field of thermonuclear- fusion 
research. Most research has 
concentrated on deuterium 
(heavy hydrogen) as a fuel, 
but physicist John M. Daw- 
son of UCLA, told a recent- 
meeting of the American 
Physical Society that more 
attsnllon should be paid to 
helium-3 because it ismore 
efficient and creates ho 
dangerous radioactive by- 

His argument is that while 
most helium-3 escaped from 
the earth, because of its 
weak gravitation, at the time 
the planet was formed, some 
of it mighl still be trapped in 
gas bubbles inside the earth. 
: In any event, theouter 
planets must have retained 
!heir helium, and because il 
is very light, it is.probably 
floating on top of the plane- 
tary atmospheres. 

'In a few hundred years," 
Dr. Dawson suggests, "space 
technology will be far 
enough along to skim off the 
planetary helium and bring, it 
back to. Earth." 

— Don Fabun I 


| While the worid has yet to 
i a serious Incident of nu- 
ar terrorism, recent hap- 
tings indicate that 1979 

may well be remembered as 
the Year of the Atom, for all 
the wrong reasons. Such as: 
■ In February the FBI ar- 
rested a thirty-nine-year-old 
construction worker for steal- 
ing 150 pounds of uranium 
from a General Electric facil- 
ity in North Carolina. Accord- 
ing to Intersearch, the news- 
letter of the International Ter- 
rorist Research Center, he 
threatened to send portions 
of the radioactive material to 
President Carter and other 
prominent people unless he 
received $100,000 in extor- 
tion money. 

• In early March a maga- 
zine, The Progressive, was 
forbidden by a Federal Dis- 
trict Court judge in Mil- 
waukee, Wisconsin, to print 
an article it had sent to the 

Department of Energy to 
verity its accuracy The name 
of the article? "How the Hy- 
drogen Bomb Works." The 
reason for the publishing 
bah? The article was too 
thorough in its explanation, 
so much so that it qualified 
as a classified document. 
The man who wrote it gotthe 
information simply by telling 
bomb experts the truth, that 
he was a reporter writing an 
article on the workings of the 
hydrogen bomb. 

• An old atomic mystery was 
revived during a damage 
suit filed against the Kerr- 
McGee Corporation by the 
estate of the late Karen 
Silkwood, a controversial 
employee of that company. 
Kerr-McGee was never able 
to account for a missing 40 
pounds of plutonium in one 
of its plants, now shut down. 
An expert witness, Dr. Karl 
Morgan, of the Oak Ridge 
plutonium-diffusion plant in 
Tennessee, testified that that 
was more than enough 
plutonium to build several 
nuclear weapons. 
pany claims the missing 
material is lost in the piping 
system of its plant. (Silkwood 
had criticized ihe plant's 
safety precautions.) 

• In the midst of the Three 
Mile Island nuclear accident, 
the FBI admitted it was in- 
vestigating reports of sabo- 
tage threats against the fal- 
tering power plant. 

— Douglas Colligan 

"The most beautiful 
experience we can have is 
the mysterious. It is the 
fundamental emotion thai 
stands at the cradle of true 
art and true science. " 

—Albert Einstein 



Scientists at a nonprofit 
think tank named the Mitre 

Corporation have stumbled 
onto what they hope will be 
an improved technique for 
earthquake prediction. 

Remember the mysterious 
booming noises heard up 
and down the East Coast in 
the winter of 1977-78? No 
one could explain them at 
first, and the media had a 
field day. 

Encouraged by reams of 
sensational headlines, 
alarmed easterners began 
telling the authorities about 
everything from gunshots to 
thunderclaps. Not until U.S. 
Navy researchers noticed 
that the loudest booms coin- 
cided with offshore super- 
sonic flights by military air- 
craft and the Concorde did 
the media hype— and the 
volume of reports — ease off. 

Researchers at the Mitre 

Corporation agreed that that 
was a reasonable 
explanation — as far as it 
went. But their curiosity was 
piqued by all the other 
noises reported at the 
time— noises that, perhaps, 
occurred all the time but 
went unnoticed without the 
media attention. 

First, taking a look at the 
Navy's study, they discov- 
ered that nearly one third of 
the reported booms could 
not be attributed to aircraft. 
Then they looked back at 
historic records and discov- 
ered that booming noises 
were often reported before 

In one of those lucky coin- 
cidences scientists dream 
of, their suspicions were con- 
firmed in the middle of their 
research. Explosive noises 
were reported along the 
Ramapo Fault in New Jersey 
and New York seconds be- 
fore a minor earthquake. 

Mitre consultant Gordon 

Most of the mysterious booms heard on the East Coast were caused 
by supersonic aircraft, but others may have been quake warnings. ' 

42 OMNI 

Macdonald speculates that 
the booms are caused by 
subterranean gases, re- 
leased by movements of the 
earth's crust, Armed with 
this hypothesis, the Mitre 
Corporation recommends 
setting up arrays of micro- 
phones to pinpoint systemat- 
ically the booms' locations. If 
any occur along known fault 
lines, the presence of re- 
leased gases can be tested 

In China, Macdonald 
adds, unusual noises are al- 
ready monitored as one 
component in that country's 
earthquake-warning system, 
considered the most sophis- 
ticated in the world. 

— Dan Ross 


On the theory that pushing 
someone's nose in his own 
energy waste will cause a 
reduction in energy use. 
R. B. Fitch, of Chapel Hill, 
North Carolina, has devised 
a machine that will tell you 
how much money you are 
spending every hour on 

Tests have shown it works. 
The University of .Colorado 
found that the $125 Fitch En- 
ergy Monitor will cause resi- 
dents to cut their consump- 
tion by about 1 2 percent. Av- 
erage time to recoup in- 
vestment: less than two 
years with an all-electric 

Fitch, a builder, says he 
invented the monitor to edu- 
cate his son, who kept leav- 
ing the light on in his room. 
The monitor is about 15 cen- 
timeters square and 5 cen- 
timeters thick. It is attached 
to the conventional electric 

meter and gives a digital 
readout. If you switch on an 
air conditioner, for example, 
the monitor will immediately 
tell you how much you are 
spending to run it. — S.D. 

This 6-centimeler IBM memory 
chip, held in tweezers, is the 
smallest, most compact ever 
developed and can hold 64,000 
bits of intormation —roughly 
equal to 1 ,000 eight-letter words. 
It's compared to a 9-centimeter 
Babylonian clay cuneiform 
tablet in background, which was 
used to record a single business 
■ 1500 b.c. 

"If the scientists tell us truly, 
the gasoline supply of 
America, at the present rate 
of production and 
consumption, wilt be 
exhausted in twenty-seven 
years .... But, were every 
one of the . . . American cars 
equipped with Goodyear 
Cord Tires, this supply would 
last seven years longer, or 
thirty-four years, " 

—Advertisement, Collier's 
Magazine, December 16, 1916 


'■'v. : < 


■■• -Wit 

'•» V, 4":,' 

■li'iVf U.K." 

Thousands of research hours 
have barely tapped 
Apollo's scientific legacy 


9 J 


It was good to be back on the moon. 
The trip down to Earth had been tir- 
ing. Since Russians returning from the 
moon were no longer a novelty, we were 
spared the embarrassing reception that 
would have been our fate a decade ear- 
lier. Still it was hard to get used to Earth. 
We always weighed six times what we 
should have. We had trouble sleeping in 
the thick atmosphere. We felt naked 
going outside without a spacesuit. No. it 
was nice to visit the earth, but we were 
glad to be standing on a familiar world 

As if to reassure ourselves, we 
climbed a low ridge that rose a full 15 
meters above the plains of Mare 
Crisium. From where we stood, all of 
Korolev (only a few old-timers still refer 
to it as Korolev Base) spread out before 
us. The panorama hadn't changed, Pit 1 
lay to our left, growing by a lew meters 
each day as the loose, powdery lunar 
soil was trucked away to the extraction 

Beyond the pressurized domes of 
Korolev ran the dark line of an elec- 
tromagnetic launcher, four kilometers 
long, As we watched, a dark spot ap- 
peared at the near end, accelerated 
along the track, and vanished into 
space above the curve of the moon's 


surface. Another load of processed 
lunar material was heading up to where 
the huge colonies of Novaya Moskva 
and Novii Leningrad hung in space near 
the L-5 point. Probably titanium sponge. 
we thought, The zero-g refining facility 
at Novaya Moskva was turning out struc- 
tural members for the half-complered 
shell of New Boston, while Americans 
worked the bugs out of their own solar 
refining plant 

Science fiction? Think what people in 
1945 would have thought of the Apollo 
1 1 landing. Yet today a whole generation 
is reaching voting age, barely able to 
remember when it was "impossibfe" to 
go to the moon, Because of Apollo 11 we 
have become spacefarers: we know we 
can leave the earth. Lunar bases, space 
habitats, and zero-g industries no 
longer seem so impossible. Difficult and 
expensive, yes. Nevertheless, they may 
become real in another generation or 

Humanity has always approached 
new lands in three stages: first discov- 
ery, then'exploration, finally settlement 
and use, Ten years ago Apollo ad- 
vanced the moon into the exploration 
stage, And what exploration! Twelve 
American astronauts walked on its sur- 
face. More than 2,000 lunar samples 

Micro-thin section olmoon rock 

reveals aluminum, Iron, titanium. 
and magnesium-raw materials lor 
future construction. 

^Imagine Columbus 

returning with photo maps, 

chemical analyses 

of the entire U.S., and 

2000 soil samples.? 

were collected from six different sites. Rus- 
sian robol spacecraft brought back sam- 
ples from three more sites. Laser reflectors 
and seismometers were placed on the 
moon's surface to probe its interior, From 
lunar orbit, spacecraft photographed the 
entire moon and chemically analyzed more 
than a fourth of its surface. 

The data returned from the moon in ten 
short years have already filled dozens of 
books and thousands of technical articles. 
To put the results of Apollo in perspective, 
imagine Christopher Columbus returning 
from his fourth voyage in 1504 with the fol- 
lowing: a complete and accurate aerial 
photographic map of North and South 
America; a chemical analysis of the entire 
surface of the United States and Mexico; a 
diagram of the earth's crust and mantle 
beneath the eastern United States; 2,000 
rock and soil samples from six locations 
across the United States; and dozens of 
measurements of the distance between 
Spain and America, each one accurate to 
less than a meter! 

We now know that the moon is native to 
our solar system and that it formed about 
4.6 billion years ago. We have learned that 
it is not a uniform, homogeneous world but 
has an outer crust and an underlying man- 
tle of denser rock. A liny metallic mass may 
even be at the moon's core. Light-colored 
lunar crust, made of aluminum-rich rocks, 
is covered in places by dark-colored vol- 
canic lavas, rich in iron and titanium. These 
lavas spread across the moon's surface 
billions of years ago to form the features of 
the man (or the woman) in the moon. 

Lunar chemistry is akin to that of the 
earth, but some real differences remain, 
The moon seems to lack water and certain 
volatile elements, notably sodium and 
potassium. It is apparent that moon matter 
was strongly heated before or during its 
formation, producing a drier, more refrac- 
tory world than the earth. 

Despite chemical ties between the two. 
the surface characteristics of Earth difler 
entirely from those of the moon. The latter is 
airless, and its surface has never felt the 

touch of wind or water. Large and small 
meteorites constantly bombard the moon's 
surface, making craters, breaking and 
scattering bedrock, and gradually building 
up a thin layer of shattered, powdery rub- 
ble. So slowly does this shaping take place 
that if people had looked at the moon 3 
billion years ago. it would have appeared to 
them almost the same as it does to us now, 

Where does this knowledge come from? 
Most of it is revealed in mdon rocks. 
Thousands of samples were collected by 
astronauts and carefully returned to hun- 
dreds of scientists who are still prying new 
knowledge from them. Step into the 
sterilized rooms of the Lunar Sample 
Curatorial Facility at NASA's Johnson 
Space Center in Houston and meet these 
silent witnesses face to face: dark chunks 
of basalt lavas, white crystalline rocks from 
the lunar highlands, black powdery sam- 
ples of the surface layers of the moon. They 
sit behind glass in an atmosphere of dry 
nitrogen, and they are handled carefully 
with gloves and special tools— not for 
man's protection, but for theirs. 

When the first lunar samples came back, 
fear was expressed that they might contain 
some dangerous alien life form. The sam- 
ples and the returning astronauts were 
carefully quarantined and examined, By 
the time we learned that the moon rocks 
were lifeless and harmless, other tacts 
began to emerge. The rock samples had 
formed in a dry environment, one without 
free oxygen. Some of the most important 
chemical elements were present in very low 
concentrations, and the samples could be 
easily contaminated Now the problem was 
reversed. The moon rocks had to be pro- 
tected from Earth — from the water and 
oxygen in our air and from the contaminat- 
ing dust and dirt that surround every 
human being and all human activity 

No complete lunar sample ever leaves 
the protection of these laboratories But 
thousands of tiny chips and pieces are sent 
out each year to hundreds of American and 
foreign scientists. 

Follow one of these chips to a laboratory. 

*+, £ 

Astronaut Harrison Schrr.i;: cocoas rock samples next to a huge, fissured boulder examined dining 
the third moon walk ol Apollo 17. Abundant scientitic data have been extracted from the limat 
minerals, but struclurai msid's sua' p:?nirui oxygen may prove many more prac::ca< cvscoveAes 
46 OMNI 

Watch as a white-coated technician ce- 
ments the chip to a glass microscope slide 
and then carefully grinds it down until the 
lunar rock is thinner than a sheet of paper. 
Under a microscope, the specimen is 
nearly transparent. The fabric of the crys- 
tals is clearly displayed, and the crystals 
themselves Hash into glorious colors under 
polarized light. Here is the moon, brought 
down to where we all can look at it. The 
crystals are fresh and unaltered even 
though the rock may be 4 billion years old. 
Why? Because no water has ever touched 
them. The moon rocks contain none of the 
w'ater-formed rust and clays that are pres- 
ent in even the freshest, youngest terrestrial 

Scientists determine the genealogy of 
moon racks by examining the shapes and 
textures of their crystals. The long, inter- 
locking crystals of one specimen were 
formed by rapid cooling of lava on the lunar 
surface. Another shows more regular crys- 
tal shapes, which tell of slow cooling deep 
under the lunar highlands. In yet another 
rock, crystals are deformed and shattered 
by the forces of ancient meteorite impacts 
on the moon. 

These samples also function as lunar 
time capsules. Within each rock, tiny 
amounts of radioactive elements have 
been ticking off those eons since the rock 
formed. One of the great triumphs of Apollo 
was that it has enabled us to apply the 
same radioactive-age-measurement tech- 
niques to moon rocks that we have used in 
deciphering the history of Earth. Watch as 
tiny crystals are separated from the rock 
and dissolved in ultrapure reagents. See a 
tiny drop of solution placed on the filament 
of a huge mass spectrometer; then watch 
as the machine analyzes the separated 
atoms and traces out on graph paper the 
history of another world. 

The oldest rocks brought back by Apollo 
are about 4.6 billion years old, far older than 
any rock preserved on the active, changing 
earth These lunar rocks are as old as me- 
teorites, and their age reveals the moon's 
historic link to our solar system. It was not a 
captured wanderer from Outside, but 
coalesced at the same time as the sun and 
the planets. 

Other racks tell the rest of the moon's 
story: a violent early youth, with intense 
melting, until gradually a solid crust 
formed, only to be struck again and again 
by huge meteorites. About 4 billion years 
ago great floods of lava rose to the surface 
and poured out over the moon for half a 
billion years. Then the moon sank into a 
near eternity of quiet The nearby earth 
continued active, developing an atmo- 
sphere, oceans, and life. 

Continuous erosion, volcanism, and 
mountain building destroyed the earth's 
ancient rocks and completely erased any 
record of what our planet was like when it 
was young. The moon remained virtually 
unchanged, a museum world, a cosmic 
Tomb of Tutankhamun. preserving the rec- 
ord of what the earliest history of a world 

had been. The only change was the steady 
rain of meteorites, gradually building up a 
layer of fine broken rubble a few tens of 
meters thick. Called lunar soil for conve- 
nience, organic mat- 
ter, and nothing live. 

Moon rocks hold the history of the moon, 
but lunar soil holds the histories of the stars. 
Unprotected by any atmosphere, lunar soil 
has been exposed for eons to all the radia- 
tions from the sun. Tiny crystals and bits of 
glass in the soil have trapped and held the 
stream of low-energy atoms (solar wind) 
that spreads continuously out from the sun. 
Other specimens have caught and held 
higher-energy atoms from the intermittent 
eruptions of solar flares. In still other frag- 
ments are the permanent tracks of high- 
energy cosmic-ray particles from beyond 
our own solar system. These radiations, 
trapped during periods ranging from bil- 
lions of years ago to the past few decades, 
are now being analyzed. 

By going to the moon, we have collected 

£ Mysteries remain. 

Why are the dark lava 

flows almost all 

on the moon's front side? 

What is the strange red 

glow seen in Alphonsus 

and other craters? To 

find out, we must go back.J 

pieces of the sun. It is as if the moon were 
an instrumented satellite, launched into 
orbit 4.6 billion years ago to record the life 
history of our own personal star. We are only 
now starting to read this record. Over long 
periods, like a few hundred million years, 
the sun seems to have behaved about the 
same as it does now. But over the shorter 
term there are some interesting anomalies. 
Lunar samples show apparently higher 
solar-flare rates over the last few decades 
than we have measured from Earth. There 
also seem to be changes in cosmic-ray 
intensity, which is related to the strength of 
the sun's magnetic field, during the past 2 
million years. 

One of the greatest future uses of lunar 
samples will be to help us understand the 
sun. There is still much we do not know 
about it. We don't know why it puts out fewer 
neutrinos than it should. We don't know how, 
or even whether, it affects our long-term 
climates. But as lunar samples help us 
read the sun's past, we will better under- 
stand the sun's inner workings and how it 
will operate in the future. 

So much learned about the moon in a few 
short years. Have we learned everything? 

No. Many pre-Apollo mysteries remain, 
and many new questions are being asked 
simply because we have learned so much. 
Why are the dark lava flows almost entirely 
on the front side of the moon? What pro- 
duced the unexpected "fossil magnetism" 
detected in lunar rocks although the moon 
has no magnetic field? What causes the 
clouds and red glows that have been seen 
in such craters as Aristarchus and Alphon- 
sus? What was the gas that produced the 
bubbles now preserved in lunar lavas? 
Does the moon have an iron core? What 
causes the magnetic anomaly near the cra- 
ter Van de Graaff on the far side 9 

Some of the answers may lie in the sam- 
ples we have already collected, many of 
which still await detailed examination 
Other long core samples of lunar soil re- 
main unopened, and in the hundreds of 
layers still preserved may be a 2- 
bil I ion-year-old record of the lunar surface 
and the sun. Sediment cores drilled from 
the bottoms of terrestrial oceans are giving 
us a record of the climates of our world. In 
the same way cores of lunar soil will enable 
us to trace the storms and climates of the 

Other lunar mysteries can be solved only 
if we return to the moon or send robot 
spacecraft ahead of us. Automatic sam- 
ple-return missions, like the Russians' Luna 
XVI, could land at Aristarchus to see what 
causes the glows. An instrumented satel- 
lite in lunar polar orbit could efficiently map 
and analyze the moon, settle the problem 
of the iron core, and search for frozen water > 
in the permanently shadowed lunar poles. 
A relay satellite beyond the moon would 
open up the moon's far side to exploration. 

But beyond the stage of further explora- 
tion, will the moon ever enter the stage of 
colonization and use? The scientific rea- 
sons for staying on the moon are as old as 
science fiction itself, and most of them re- 
main valid today. From vantage points on 
the moon, astronomical telescopes could 
probe the universe in all wavelengths. The 
low temperature and total vacuum would 
make possible unique, large-scale exper- 
iments in chemistry physics, and engineer- 
ing. Geologists with roving vehicles and 
surface instruments could probe deeper 
into the structure and history of a world that 
still remains largely unknown. A radio tele- 
scope on the moon's far side, shielded by 
3,500 kilometers of rock from the radio 
noise and chatter of Earth, would be in the 
quietest place in the solar system. We 
might even hear for the first time the voices 
of Others amid the hiss and crackle of the 

How else might we use the moon? Ac- 
cording to Dr. Gerard O'Neill, at Princeton 
University, the moon in the near future could 
become a source of materials to build hu- 
manity's first spaceborne civilization. When 
we reach the point of building large struc- 
tures in earth orbit (be they habitats, solar- 
power stations, or observatories), O'Neill 
notes that it will be cheaper to mine raw 
lunar materials rather than pay a frightful 

penally in fuel costs to haul finished prod- 
ucts up from Earth. Several groups of sci- 
entists and engineers are already develop- 
ing plausible schemes to scoop up lunar 
soil, shoot it down to earth orbit, and refine 
it at space habitats, using solar power. 

The Apoilo program was never intended 
as a prospecting expedition, but the 
returned lunar samples prove that the re- 
sources are there— in theory A million tons 
of lunar soil could be scooped up from a pit 
only 200 meters square and 20 meters 
deep. This much soil contains: 220.000 
tons of silicon (for glass and solar-electric 
panels); 70,000 tons of aluminum (light 
structural members, conductors, mirror 
coatings); 140,000 tons of titanium and iron 
(structural girders and plates); 60.000 tons 
of magnesium; 80,000 tons of calcium; 
420,000 tons of oxygen (breathing and 
rocket fuel). 

It sounds good, but it's still too early to 
assume that the moon's surface is paved 
with windowpanes. steel hull plates, mir- 
rors, and solar panels, For one thing, lunar 
soil is not easy to process. It is a fine, cling- 
ing powder, a complex mixture of rock and 
mineral fragments, glassy beads, half- 
melted clinkerlike particles, and finely di- 
vided iron metal. Even in a terrestrial smelt- 
er the soil would be hard to manage, pro- 
cess, and separate. 

Worse yet are the elements that aren't 
present in lunar soil, particularly hydrogen 
(needed for water, rocket fuel, plastics, and 

hydrocarbons), There are other elements 
critical to a technological civ^.zaton thai 
are dispersed in parts-per-million quan- 
tities in the lunar soil, almost impossible to 
concentrate— copper, germanium, mer- 
cury, gold, tungsten. 

Do we write off lunar mines as a twenty- 
first-century growth industry? Maybe not. 
Changing economic conditions, a new ef- 
fort in space, or new technology might turn 
lunar rubble into profit-making ore. The fu- 
ture of mining the moon is a complex ques- 
tion of economics, politics, will, and new 
technology, none of which can be pre- 
dicted very well. 

But even before we go back to the moon, 
there is much we can do on Earth, We can 
devote further study to lunar samples and 
extract the still-hidden knowledge about 
the moon, the sun, and the stars. We can 
construct quantities of simulated lunar soil 
and. learn how to separate valuable ele- 
ments from it. We can study the economics 
of space travel to see how profits can be 
realized. The problems of inhabiting the 
moon are far greater, but so is our technol- 
ogy We know we can go back to the moon 
to stay if we wish to. 

For more than 4 billion years the moon lay 
quiet and still, but our view of it has 
changed drastically in our own short his- 
tory. For us the moon has been a light, a 
deity, and an unknown world, and now it is a 
familiar companion planet. It may become 
the materials mainstay of our first space 

civilization. Finally it may become what the 
Azores were to Columbus— a haven, refuel- 
ing stop,, and point of departure for those 
who sail the unknown "seas beyond. OQ 

For Further Reading 

Collins. Michael. Carrying the Fire, New 
York: Ballantine. Books, 1974, 478 pp.; 
paperback, $1.95. Memoir of Apollo 11. 

French, Bevan M, The Moon Book. New 
York: Penguin Books, 1977, 287 pp.; 

paperback, $4.95. Lunar discoveries for 
the non scientist. 

Heppenheimer, T. A. Colonies in Space. 
New York: Warner Books. 1977, 321 pp.; 
paperback, $2.50, A more detailed look 
at space habitats. 

Johnson, R. D., and Holbrow, C, eds. 
Space -Settlements: A Design Study. U.S. 
Government Printing Office. NASA Spe- 
cial Publication SP-413, 1977, 185 pp., $5. 

O'Neill. Gerard K. The High Frontier. New 
York: Bantam Books. 1977, 344 pp.; 
paperback, $2.75. The .setting for space 

Taylor, S- Ross. Lunar Science: A Post- 
Apollo View. New York: Pergamon Press, 
1975, 372 pp.; paperback. $9.50. Lunar 
results for the earth and space scientist. 


Ordinary foresight is 

fine in most p/aces, but not enough 

in Callahan's bar 


I know what the exact 
date was, of course, but I can't see that it would 
matter to you. Say i! was just another Saturday 
night at Callahan's Place. 

Which is to say that the joint was merry as hell, 
as usual. Over in the corner Fast Eddie sat in 
joyous combat with Eubie Blake's old rag "Tricky 
Fingers," and a crowd had gathered around the 
piano to cheer him on. It is a demonically dif- 
ficult rag, which Eubie wrote for the specific 
purpose of humiliating his competitors, and 
Eddie takes a crack at it maybe once or twice a 
year. He was playing it with his whole body, 
grinning like a murderer and spraying sweat in 
all directions. The onlookers fed him energy in 
the form of whoops and rebel yells, and one of 
the unlikely miracles about Callahan's Place is 
that no one claps along with Eddie's music who 
cannot keep time. All across the rest of the 
tavern people whirled and danced, laughing 
because they could not make their feet move 
one fourth as fast as Eddie's hands. Behind the 
bar Callahan danced with himself, and bottles 
danced with each other on the shelves behind 
him. I sat stock-still in front of the bar, clutched 
my third drink in fifteen minutes, and concen- 
trated on not bursting into tears. 


Doc Webster caught me at it. You would 
not think that a man navigating that much 
mass around a crowded room could spare 
attention for anything else; furthermore, he 
was dancing with Margie Thomas, who is 
enough to hold anyone's attention. She is 
very pretty and limber enough to kick a 
man standing behind her in the eye. But the 
Doc has a built-in compass for pain; when 
his eyes fell on mine, they stayed there. 

His other professional gift is for tact and 
delicacy. He did not glance at the calendar, 
he did not pause in his dance, he did not so 
much as frown. But 1 knew that he knew 

Then the dance whirled him away. I spun 
my chair around to the bar and gulped 
whiskey. Eddie brought "Tricky Fingers" to 
a triumphant conclusion, hammering that 
final chord home with both hands, and his 
howl of pure glee was audible even over the 
roar of applause that rose from the whole 
crew at once. Many glasses hit the fire- 
place together, and happy conversation 
began everywhere. I finished my drink. For 
the hundredth time I was grateful that Cal- 
lahan keeps no mirror behind his bar; Be- 
hind me, 1 knew. Doc Webster would be 
whispering in various ears, unobtrusively 
passing the word, and I didn't want to see it. 

"Hit me again, Mike," I called out. 

"Half a sec, Jake," Callahan boomed 
cheerily. He finished drawing a pitcher of 
beer, stuck a straw into it, and passed it 
across to Long Drink McGonnigle, who fer- 
ried it to Eddie. The big barkeep ambled 
my way, running damp hands through his 
thinning red hair. "Beer?" 

I produced a very authentic-looking grin. 
"Irish again." 

Callahan looked ever so slightly pained 
and rubbed his big broken nose. "I'll have 
to have your keys, Jake." 

The expression one too many has only a 
limited meaning at Callahan's Place. Mike 
operates on Ihe assumption thai his cus-" 
lomers are grown-ups— he'll keep on serv- 
ing you for as long as you can stand up and 
coot 'o:n intelhgibly = in; r-o one diunk 
drives home from Callahan's. When he de- 
cides you've reached your limit, you have to 
surrender your car keys to keep on drink- 
ing, then let Pyotr— who drinks only ginger 
ale— drive you home when you fold. 

"British constitution," I tried experi- 
mentally "The lethal policeman dismisseth 
us, Peter Pepper packed his pipe with 
paraquat ..." 

Mike kept his big hand out for the keys. 
"I've heard you sing 'Shiny Stockings' blind 
drunk without a single syllabobble, Jake." 

"Damn it," I began, and stopped. "Make it 
a beer, Mike." 

He nodded and brought me a Lowen- 
brau dark. "How about a toast?" 

I glanced at him sharply. There was a 
toast that I urgently wanted to 'make, to 
have behind me for another year. "Maybe 

"Sure. -Hey, Drink 1 . How about a loast 
around here?" 

Long-Drink looked up from across the 
room. "I'm your man." The conversation 

52 OMNI 

began to abate as he threaded his way 
through Ihe crowd to the chalk line on the 
floor and stood facing ihe deep brick fire- 
place. He is considerably taller than 
somewhat, and he towered over everyone. 
He wailed until he had our attention. 

"Ladies and gentlemen and regular cus- 
tomers," he said then, "you may find this 
difficult to believe, buf in my youth I was 
known far and wide as a jackass." This 
brought a spirited response, which he en- 
dured stoically, "My only passion in life, 
back in my college days, was grossing 
people out. I considered it a holy mission, 
and I had a whole crew of ofher jackasses 
to tell me I was just terrific. 1 would type long 
letters onio a roll of toilet paper, smear mus- 
tard on the last square, then roll it back up 
and mail it in a box. I kept a dead mouse in 
my pocket at all times, I streaked Town Hall 
in 1952. I loved to see eyes glaze. And I 
regret to confess that I concentrated mostly 
on ladies, because they were the easiest lo 
gross out. Foul Phil, they called me in them 

6 Her face was of 
the second type. I suppose 

it could have been 
cancer or some such, but 

somehow I knew her 
pain was not physical. I 

was just as sure 
that it might be fatal. 9 

days. I'll tell you what cured me." He wet his 
whistle, confident of our attention, 

"The only trouble with a reputation for 
crudeness is that sooner or later you run 
short of unsuspecting victims. So you look 
for new faces. One day I'm at a party off 
campus, and I notice a young lady I've 
never seen before, a pretty little thing in an 
off-the-shoulder blouse. Oboy, I sez to my- 
self, fresh blood! What'll I do? I've got the 
mouse in one pocket, the recial-thermome- 
ter swizzle stick in the other, but she looks 
so virginal and innocent I decide the hell 
with subtlety, I'll try a direct approach. So I 
walk over lo where she's siltin' talkin' to 
Peley LeFave on a little couch. I come up 
behind her. like, upzip me trousers, out 
with me instrument, and lay it across her 

There were some howls of outrage, from 
the men as much as from the women, and 
some giggles, from the women as much as 
from the men. "Well, I said I was a jackass," 
the Drink said, and we all applauded. 

"No reaction whatsoever do I get from 
her," he went on, dropping into his fake 
brogue. "People grinnin' or growlin' all 
round fhe room just like here, Petey's eyes 

poppin', but this lady gives no sign that 
she's aware of me presence atall, atall. I 
kinda wiggle il a bit, and not a glance does 
she give me. Finally I can't stand it, 'Hey,' I 
sez, tappin' her other shoulder and point- 
ing, 'what do you think this is?' And she 
takes a leisurely look. Then she looks me in 
the eye and says, 'It's something like a 
man's penis, only smaller,' " 

An explosion of laughter and applause 
filled the room. 

"... wherefore," continued Long-Drink, 
"I propose a toast: to me youth, and may 
God save me from a relapse." And the 
cheers overcame the laughter as he 
gulped his drink and flung Ihe glass into the 
fireplace, I nearly grinned myself. 

"My turn," Tommy Janssen called out, 
and the Drink made way for him at the chalk 
line. Tommy's probably the youngest of the 
regulars; I'd put him at just about twenty- 
one. His hair is even longer than mine, but 
he keeps his face mowed. 

"This happened to me just last week. I 
went into fhe city for a party, and I left it too 
late, and it was the wrong neighborhood of 
New York for a civilian to be in at that time of 
night, right? A dreadful error! Never been 
so scared in my life. I'm walking on tippy- 
toe, looking in every doorway I pass and 
trying to look insolvent, and the burning 
question in my mind is. Are the crosstown 
buses still running?' Because if they are, I 
can catch one a block away that'll take me 
to bright lights and safety— but I've forgot- 
ten how late the crosslown bus keeps run- 
ning in this part of town. It's my only hope. I 
keep on walking, scared as hell. And when 
I get to the bus stop, there, leaning up 
against a mailbox, is the biggest, mean- 
est-looking, ugliest, blackest man I have 
ever seen in my life. Head shaved, three 
days' worth of beard, big scar on his face, 
hands in his pockets." 

Not a sound in the joint. 

"So the essential thing is not to let them 
know you're scared. I put a big grin on my 
face, and I walk right up to him, and I 
stammer, 'Uh ... crosstown bus run all 
night long?' And the fella goes ..." Tommy 
mimed a ferocious-looking giant with his 
hands in his pockets. Then suddenly he 
yanked them out, clapped them rhythmi- 
cally, and sang, "Doo-dah, doo-dah!" 

The whole bar dissolved in laughter. 

"... fella whipped out a joint, and we 
both got high while we waited for the bus," 
he went on, and the laughter redoubled. 
Tommy finished his beer and cocked the 
empty. "So my toast is to prejudice," he 
finished, and pegged the glass square into 
the hearth, and the laughter became a 
standing ovation. Isham Latimer, who is the 
exact color of recording tape, came over 
and gave Tommy a been a grin, and some 

Suddenly I thought I understood some- 
thing, and it filled me with shame. 

Perhaps in my self-involvement I was 
wrong, I had not seen fhe Doc communi- 
cate in any way with Long-Drink or Tommy 
nor had the toilers seamed to notice me 

a! all. But all at once it seemed suspicious 
that both men, both proud men, had picked 
tonight to stand up and uncharacteristi- 
cally tell egg-on-my-face anecdotes. 
Damn Doc Webster! I had been trying so 
hard to keep my pain off my 'face, so de- 
termined to get my toast made and get 
home without bringing my friends down, 

Or was I, with the egotism of the 
wounded, reading foo much into a couple 
of good anecdotes well told? I wanted to 
"ear the next toast. I turned around to set 
my beer down so I Could prop my face up 
on both fists, and was stunned out of my 
self-involvement, and was further 

It was inconceivable that I could have sat 
next to her for a full fifteen minutes withoui 
noticing her— anywhere in the world, let 
alone at Callahan's Place. 

I worked the night shift in a hospital once, 
pushing a broom. The only new faces you 
see are the ones they wheel into Emergen- 
cy There are two basic ways people react 
facially to mortal agony. The first kind 
smiles a lot, slightly apologetically thanks 
everyone elaborately for small favors, ex- 
travagantly praises the hospital and its 
every employee. The face is animated, try- 
ing to ensure that the last impression it 
leaves before going under the knife is of a 
helluva nice person whom it would be a 
shame to lose. The second kind is abso- 
lutely blank-faced, so jttuly wrapped up in 
wondering whether he's dying that he has 
no attention left for working the switches 
and levers of the face— or so certain of 
death that the perpetual dialogue people 
conduct with tnen faces has ceased to in- 
terest him. It's not the total deanimation of a 
corpse's face, but it's not far from it. 

Her face was of the second type. I sup- 
pose it could have been cancer or some 
such, but somehow I knew her pain was not 
physical. I was just as sure that it might be 
fatal. I was so shocked I violated the prime 
rule of Callahan's Place without even think- 
ing about it. "Good God, lady," I blurted, 
"what's the matter?" 

Her head turned toward me with such 
elaborate care that I knew her car keys 
must be in the coffee can behind the bar, 
Her eyes took awhile focusing on me, but 
when they did, there was no one looking out 
of them. She enunciated her words. 

"Is it to me to whom you are referring?" 

She was not especially pretty, not par- 
ticularly well dressed, her hair cut wrong for 
her face and in need of brushing. She was 
a normal person, in other words, save that 
her face was uninhabited, and somehow 1 
could not take my eyes off her. It was not the 
pain— I wanted to take my eyes from 
that— it was something else. 

It was necessary to get her attention, 
"Nothing, nothing, just wanted to tell you 
your hair's on fire," 

She nodded. "Think nothing of it." She 
turned back to her screwdriver and started 
to take a sip and sprayed it all over the 
counter. S.he shrieked on the inhale, 


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h..eep your computer-enhanced pictures of Jupi- 
ter. Don't flaunt their colored spectacle before my eyes. Savor your theories about life on the Red Planet; roll 
them on your own tongue. I prefer other tastes. Come, feast your eyes on this." Erasmus Darwin ll's 
phraseology and the timbre of his voice were compelling, as befits a man whose genetic destiny had been 
shaped by some of the most profound thinkers of the last two centuries. Autocratic chromosomes were a 
higher credential these days than blood that radiated at 4,700 angstroms in the visual spectrum, and so 
researchers gathered at his beckoning. 

Darwin ll's room, into which his colleagues flowed, resembled a cross between a planetarium and a 
bathysphere. In reality, it was a holograph-enhancement chamber, designed by its proprietor for simu- 
lated journeys into the subcellular world of organelles, a Jules Verne version of The Fantastic Voyage. Verne 
and Darwin ll's namesake, the original Dr. Erasmus D, grandfather of Charles, had shared similar visions of 
the world in the days before the blossoming of technology had fulfilled their dreams. The symmetry of these 
ancestral thoughts to his own electrified Darwin II In the same way an elegant mathematical statement 
electrifies a physicist. 

It was with these charged expectations that Darwin II dimmed the room lights and took his seat along 
with the others against the rim of the amphitheater. 

Rhodspsin. a purple pigment in the external segments of the retinal rods of the people in the room, 
adjusted to the diminished light, and Darwin II, who had witnessed the intercellular drama before, was the 


first lo perceive the subtle glow in the cen- 
ter of the holograph stage. A single leuko- 
cyte, drifting down from the buffy coat of 
centrifuged human blood, was caught in 
the trilaser's beam. 

An electronic hum vibrated in the over- 
head speakers and coalesced into a 
sonorous narration: "They cannot think, not 
in the usual sense of the word. They have no 
dreams, no abstract concepts. Their exis- 
tence is predicated merely on defense." 

Merely was perhaps the wrong word to 
use in this context, for leukocytes (white 
blood cells) are the Praetorian Guard of the 
body's immunological system. Some hunt 
down and engulf their microbe prey, then 
destroy the invaders in the chemical cruci- 
ble of an enzyme -lillc-d vacuole. Others un- 
leash a linked and foided chain of amino 
acids that combines with the intruder, ren- 
dering it inert. But Darwin II did not orches- 
trate this show for a review of the old 
antibody-and-scavenger system, no mat- 
ter how glorious it looked in full color, mag- 
nified tens of thousands of times. 

No, he had something else on his mind, 
something worthy of transfixing his audi- 
ence. As several other leukocytes de- 
scended into focus, the narration resumed: 

"They have no ordinary armor, nothing 
comparable lo the suits of mail and 
polished metal that Erasmus Darwin kept in 
his study at the turn of the nineteenth cen- 
tury, but their defense is as solid and their 
weapon as lethal as the lance. Erasmus 
Darwin certainly could not anticipate what 
we are seeing now. His view was at another 
level, But both visions are intimately and 
irrevocably linked. Dr. Darwin wrote in his 
journal that a patient of his, a young child 
with common measles, remained unaf- 
fected by smallpox, to which other mem- 
bers of his family succumbed. From that 
observation, and several other similar ones. 
in which one disease conferred prolection 
against another disease. Darwin conjec- 
tured that some unknown bodily fluid must 
rise up to counter a subsequent infection." 

In the cylinder of light the globular leuko- 
cytes floated like large, iridescent spheres, 
their surfaces glistening. As fhe magnifica- 
tion and Irilaser intensity increased, the 
structural components of cells took shape 
amid swirling rivers of cytoplasm. The 
elongated, cigar-shaped mitochondria 
pulsed in rhythm as they churned out en- 
ergy for vital cellular processes. Helical 
spirals of genes punctuated the pale nu- 
cleus. Pores located in the outer mem- 
brane gulped and swallowed. 

Suddenly a menacing shaft appeared in 
the upper region of the holograph scene, a 
minuscule needle dwarfed by the translu- 
cent leukocytes. 

The needle a! one end bore a hexagonal 
head. Pincerlike legs spread from the other 
end of the needle, like spindles on a land- 
ing craft Jt had fhe appearance of the lunar 
module s'eeking the moon. But this seem- 
ingly mechanical structure possessed one 
feature that was irrefutably a sign of life: 
Within the main body a pair of intertwined 

56 OMNI 

strands of nudeic ";ciC Hashed into view as 
the particle yawed out of the vertical. 
. A fully assembled virus is a chilling sight 
to any researcher who has worked in, or 
even brushed up on. virology. The tension 
in the room was palpable. 

"In 1957," the narrator intoned, "the 
British virologist Alick Isaacs and his Swiss 
colleague Jean Lindenmann were inves- 
tigating the phenomenon of viral interfer- 
ence in their laboratory at the National Insti- 
tute for Medical Research at Oxford. They 
knew that cells infected by one virus are 
resistant to subsequent infection by 
another virus, and they sought to find out 
why. They took a sampling of virus, very 
much like the beastie that looms before 
you, and incubated it with chick cells. The 
virus penetrated the chick cells and began 

"From this broth they extracted a fluid, 
which they injected into a fresh dish of 
chick cells and virus. While some chick 
cells did indeed die from the viral assault, 

6 Interferon produced in a 

single ceil triggers 

the antiviral protein, first in 

one adjacent cell, 

then in the next and the next, 

until all the 

surrounding cells are 

protected from viral attack. 9 

most survived, and the virus was inacti- 
vated. Something had interfered with the 
viral replication, and that something had to 
have come from the chick cells themselves. 
Given the nature of this unknown sub- 
stance—the fluid that Dr. Erasmus Darwin 
speculated upon — it would have been ap- 
propriate to call the mystery factor Dar- 
winicine. However, the Fellows at Oxford 
thought otherwise, and interferon came 
into being." 

One of the leukocytes in the field was 
directly in the path of the virus. Darwin II 
would not let the intruder slip by and for 
effect he slowed the holographic move- 
ment. The virus, which had been stealthily 
creeping toward its immense victim, now 
seemed to move in a series of choreo- 
graphic leaps; for every advance, it was 
repelled half the distance. In this manner 
the combatants closed the distance be- 
tween themselves. 

The virus was slightly askew when it con- 
tacted the outer cellular membrane, but it 
righted itself and inserted its hollow stinger 
deep into the leukocyte's surface. In a wrack- 
ing spasm the hexagonal body launched 
■.■its nucleiG cargo. Having transmitted its 

genetic material, the shell of the virus, like 
an empty syringe needle, dropped away. 

Once inside the leukocyte, the viral nu- 
cleic acid was indistinguishable from the 
cell's own RNA. But instead of making the 
amino acids that would join themselves into 
human proteinjhe machinery of the leuko- 
cyte host began assembling hexagonal 
shells, stingers, and new viral nucleic acid. 

Viral progeny began to swell the interior 
of the impregnated cell. Then, within the 
leukocyte nucleus, the bands on chromo- 
somes 2 and 5 started to glow. An inky 
protein snaked its way around the disas- 
sembled viral parts and escaped into the 
intercellular space. The fatally infected 
leukocyte had delivered its chemical mes- 
senger, interferon. 

Now it was Darwin N'sturn, and his voice 
filled the room. "They suffer the ignomini- 
ous fate of passively allowing themselves 
to be penetrated and commanded by a 
particle that has no redeeming qualities. 
Yet they are able to communicate their pre- 
dicament, though they are in the death 
throes of viral replication. An ancient sys- 
tem that has been found in mammalian 
cells, in avian cells, in reptilian cells, in Os- 
teichthyes and Chondrichthyes, and in 
plants has been called forth. The interferon 
system evolved at the dawn of life on this 
planet to defend all living things from [he 
scourge of death." 

Darwin had found his metier in intercellu- 
lar communication, and here was visual 
evidence of cells transmitting information 
to one another for the common good. • 

Bands of shadowy interferon extruded 
from the dying leukocyte and stretched to 
other adjacent leukocytes. The viral prog- 
eny, now fully assembled, burst through 
their membranous confines and sought out 
further victims. Both interferon molecules 
and newly replicated virus clamped onto 
the surface of a neighboring cell. 

With the binding of interferon, chromo- 
some 21 started to stir within the leukocyte 
nucleus. A secondary messenger mole- 
cule shuttled between the interferon- 
binding receptor on the cell surface and 
the membrane surrounding the nucleus. 
The message of viral attack was confirmed, 
and the leukocyte's organelles began 
churning out a 48,000-dalton protein. 

This is the antiviral substance that cells 
have been using to dismantle virus, the I 
ancient antidote that inhibits viral-protein 
synthesis inside host cells. The interferon 
produced from a single infected cell trig- 
gers the antiviral protein, first in one adja- 
cent cell, then in the next and the next, until 
all the surrounding cells are protected. 

Some cells succumb to the viral attack, 
particularly during the initial invasion, be- 
fore the interferon system is induced. Their 
sacrificed hulks litter a portion of the 
brightly lit scene. In another sector of the 
holograph field large, single-nucleated 
white cells creep toward the devastation. 
Interferon has attracted them to the 
battlefield, and these macrophages begin 
ingesting inactivated virus and cellular de- 



Thanks to the Apollo program and our 

many unmanned probes, the study of moons has 

come into its own 

There are at least 33 moons in the solar system: Earth has one, Mars 
and Neptune two: Uranus has live, Saturn ten, and Jupiter thirteen or 
more, Pluto may have a moon. Even the largest asteroids may have 
smaller asteroids orbiting them. 

Our knowledge of moons is a recent achievement. Until the Viking 
Orbiters photographed Phobos and Deimos, the moons of Mars, we 
knew little more of them than Jonathan Swift, who foretold their exis- 
tence in Gulliver's Travels 150 years before they were discovered. Until 
Voyager I turned Jupiter's moons into front-page news, they, too, were 
featureless dots seen through our largest telescopes. We have learned 


Clockwise horn left: 
Apollo 17 astronaut 
(now U.S. Senator) 
Ha"ison Schmitt 
collects ror.k samples 
during his lirst moon 
walk; view from the 
departing Apollo 1 7 
shows, at right of 
photo, territory hidden 
from Earth; asrronaui s 
lootprint marks the 
once-trackless moon; 
crescent earthrise is 
seen from 95 
kilometers over the 
lunar farside. 

Clockwise from right: 

Astronaut Schmitt 

works by the Rover 

amid the orange soil 

he discovered; Isrside 

crater, 80 kilometers 

across, was shot from 

Apollo 11;Apoilo 15 

landing site is seen 

from over the 

Appenine Mountains; 

Crater Maskelyne, at 

bottom left oi photo, 

was a major landmark 

as Apollo 1 1 

approached its 


* With all our data, we still can't answer the most obvious question about moons.? 

more of moons in the last Iwo decades lhan in all of recorded history. 

The Rangers, Surveyors, Lunar Orbiters. and Apollos brought back 
about 40 different kinds of data, from pholos to gravitational perturba- 
tions, altitude measurements to gamma-ray scans— so much informa- 
tion that space scientists now need many hours of computer time to 
make even simple analyses. The Lunar Polar Orbiter, if a now-reluctant 
Congress ever funds it, will extend many of ihese measures across the 
lunar map, where only fragmentary data are now available. 

With all this wealth of information, we still can't answer the most 
obvious question about moons: Where did they come from? It was once 
thought that our own moon was formed when a huge landmass broke 
away from the still-plastic earth, leaving a pit that eventually became 
the Pacific Ocean. But the Apollo moon-rock samples were chemically 
different from earth rocks— too different, it seems, for the moon to have 



^Moons may have formed, as the sun and planets did, from a whirling ball of gas.* 

originated hers. Such a discovery couldn't have been made from Earth. 

That leaves two hypotheses, and the data tram our space missions 
weigh as heavily tor one as for the other The capture theory holds that 
moons begin as cosmic wanderers that travel through space until they 
pass close enough to a planet to be tugged into orbit by its gravity. 
Alternatively, the moons may have condensed as the sun and planets 
did. from a whirling ball of gas that coalesced into solid matter. 

This latter idea was especially popular in the days when Jupiter had 
only four known moons because it seemed to explain why nearly all 

Clockwise from near right: Tiny Amalthea circles Jupiter every 12 hours: giant 
Ganymede is a rock-liiied 0-^i o: ice. Cai'is'n'?. uncien.' surface seems almost 
featureless: Europe, seen 'rem 2 mii'lor: kilometers .v.'i be examined toy Voyag- 
er 2 this month: e '.'oiormic o~.pijsion rj-xsrs :60 kilometers over suilurous to. 


..'..- ■■ - ... 


'•Moons are not stable in their orbits; our own is moving farther from Earth.* 

moons orbii their pareni planet in the same direction as the planet 
rotates and in the same plane as the planet orbits the sun. Then it was 
found that Jupiler's four outermost moons orbit in the opposite — "ret- 
rograde"— direction, in paths skewed tar out of Jupfter's orbital plane. 
Astronomers now think thai both theories are partially true, that Earths 
moon, for example, and Jupiter's largest satellites formed when the 
planets did, while others are captured wanderers. 

Moons are not stable in their orbits. By millimeters per year, they 
approach their parent planets or recede from them. Pluto may once 
have been a moon of Neptune that gradually escaped its orbit. Our own 
moon is moving farther from Earth. Unlike Pluto, it will not escape. 
Billions ot years hence the sun's gravily and Earth's will draw the moon 
back to its parent planet. Eventually gravitational forces will pull the 
moon apart, forming a Saturn-like ring, OQ 

■ : 


He learned a basic truth: that life begins with a breath, and he 
could predict the end of your life— with a breath 


If Dale Yorgason hadn't been so easily 
distracied, he might never have noticed 
the breathing. But he was on his way 
upstairs to change clothes, noticed the 
headline on the paper, and got deflected. 
Instead of climbing the stairs, he sat on 
them and began to read. He could not 
even concentrate on that, however. He 
began to hear all the sounds ol the house. 
Brian, their two-year-old son, was up- 
stairs, breathing heavily in sleep. Colly 
his wife, was in the kitchen, kneading 
bread and also breathing heavily 

Their breath was exactly in unison. 
Brian's rasping breath upstairs, thick with 
the mucus of a child's sleep; Colly's deep 
breaths as she labored with the dough. It 
set Dale to thinking, the newspaper for- 
gotten. He wondered how often people 
did that— breathing simultaneously for 
minutes on end. He began to wonder 
about coincidence 

And then, because he was so easily 
distracted, he remembered that he had to 
change his clothes and went upstairs. 

When he came down, in his jeans and 
sweat shirt, ready for a good game of 
outdoor basketball now that it was spring, 
Colly called to him. "I'm out of cinnamon, 

"I'll ge! it on the way home." 

"I need it now!" Colly called. 

"We have two cars!" Dale yelled back, 
then closed the door. He briefly felt bad 
about not helping her out but reminded 
himself that he was already running late 
and it wouldn't hurt her to take Brian with 
her and get outside the house. She never 
seemed to get out of the house anymore. 

His team of friends from Allways Home 
Products, inc., won the game, and he 
came home deliciously sweaty No one 
was home. The bread dough had risen 
impossibly and was spread all over the 
counter and dropping in large lumps onto 
the floor. Colly had obviously been gone 
too long. He wondered what could have 
delayed her 

Then came the phone call from the 
police, and he did not have to wonder 


anymore. Colly had a habit of inadvertently 
running stop signs. 

The funeral was well attended because 
Dale had a large family and was well liked 
at the office. He sat between his parents 
and Colly's parents. The speakers droned 
on, and Dale, easily distracted, kept think- 
ing of the facl that of all the mourners there, 
only a few were truly grieving. Only a few 
had actually known Colly, who preferred to 
avoid office functions and social gather- 
ings, who stayed home with Brian most of 
the time, being a perfect housewife and 
reading books, remaining, in the end, soli- 
tary. Most of the people at the funeral had 
come for Dale's sake, to comfort him. Am I 
. comforted? he asked himself. Not by his 
friends— they had little to say, were awk- 
ward and embarrassed. Only his father 
had had the right instinct, just embracing 
him and then talking about everything ex- 
cept Dale's wife and son, who were dead, 
so mangled in the accident that the coffin 
was never opened for anyone. There was 
talk of the fishing in Lake Superior this 
summer; talk of the bastards at Conti- 
nental Hardware who thought that the 
retirement- at-sixty-five rule ought to apply 
to the president of the company; talk of 
nothing at all. But it was good enough, 
since it served the intended function. At 
least temporarily Dale's thoughts began to 
wander, and he was distracted from his 
numbing grief. 

Now, however, he wondered whether he 
had really been a good husband for Colly. 
Had she really been happy, cooped up in 
the house all day? He had tried to get her 
out, get her to meet people, and she had 
resisted. But in the end, as he wondered 
whether he knew her at all, he could not find 
an answer, not one he was sure of. And 
Brian— he had not known Brian at all. The 
boy was smart and quick, speaking in sen- 
tences when other children were still 
Struggling with single words; but what had 
he and Dale ever had to talk -about? All 
Brian's companionship had been with his 
mother; all Colly's companionship had 
been with Brian. In a way it was like their 
breathing— the last time Dale had heard 
them breathe — in unison, as if even the 
rhythms of their bodies were together. It 
pleased Dale somehow to think that they 
had drawn their last breath together, too, 
the unison continuing to the grave; now 
they would be lowered into the earth in 
perfect unison, sharing a coffin as they had 
shared every day since Brian's birth. 

Dale's grief swept over him again, sur- 
prising him because he had thought he 
had cried as much as he possibly could, 
and now he discovered there were more 
tears waiting to flow. He was not sure 
whether he was crying because of the 
empty house he would come home to or 
because he had always been somewhat 
closed off from, his family. Was the coffin, 
after all, just an expression of the way their 
relationship had always been? It was not a 
productive line of thought, and so Dale 
once again let himself be distracted. He let 

70 OMNI 

himself notice that his parents were breath- 
ing together. 

Their breaths were soft, hard to hear. But 
Dale heard and looked at them, watched 
their chests rise and fall together. It un- 
nerved him, Was unison breathing more 
common than he had thought? He listened 
for others, but Colly's parents were not 
breathing together, and certairjly Dale's 
breaths were at his own rhythm. Then 
Dale's mother looked at him, smiled, and 
nodded to him in an attempt at silent com- 
munication. Dale was not good at silent 
communication; meaningful pauses and 
knowing looks always left him baffled. They 
always made him want to check his fly. 
Another distraction, and he did not think of 
breathing again. 

Until at the airport, when the plane was 
an hour late in arriving because of techni- 
cal difficulties in Los Angeles, There was 
not much to talk to his parents about. Even 
his father, a wizard at small talk, could think 
of nothing to say, and so they sat in silence 

'•Their breaths 

were soft, hard to hear. 

But Dale heard 

_ and looked at them, watched 

their chests rise 

and fail together. It 

unnerved him 

He listened for others 3 

most of the time, as did most of the other 
passengers. Even a stewardess and the 
pilot sat near them, waiting silently for the 
plane to arrive. 

It was in one of the deeper silences that 
Dale noticed that his father and the pilot 
were both swinging their crossed legs in 
unison. Then he listened and realized there 
was a strong sound in the waiting area, a 
rhythmic soughing of many of the passen- 
gers inhaling and exhaling together. Dale's 
mother and father, the pilot, the stew- 
ardess, several other passengers, all were 
breathing together. It unnerved him. How 
could this be? Colly and Brian had been 
mother and son; Dale's parents had been 
together for years. But why should half the 
people in the waiting area breathe to- 

He pointed it out to his father. 

"Yes, it is kind of strange, but I think 
you're right." his father said, rather de- 
lighted with the odd event. Dale's father 
loved odd events. 

Then the rhythm abruptly broke as the 
plane taxied along the runway and slowed 
to a halt directly in front of the windows of 
the airport lobby. The crowd stirred and got 

ready to board, even though the actual 
boarding time was surely half an hour off. 

The plane broke apart in midair some- 
where over eastern Kentucky, and they 
didn't find the wreckage for days. About 
half the people in the airplane had sur- 
vived, and most Of them were rescued be- 
fore exposure could da more than make 
them ill. However, the entire crew and sev- 
e-al passengers, including Dale's parents, 
were killed when the crippled plane 
plunged to the ground. 

It was then that Dale realized that the 
breathing was not a result of coincidence or 
of people's closeness during their lives. It 
was a messenger of death; they breathed 
together because mey were going to draw 
their last breath together He said nothing 
about this thought to anyone else, but 
whenever he got distracted from things, he 
tended to speculate on this. It was better 
than dwelling on the fact that he, a man to 
whom family had been very important, was 
now completely without family; that the only 
people with whom he was completely him- 
self, completely at ease, were gone, and 
there was no more ease for him in the world. 
Much better to wonder whether his knowl- 
edge might be used to save lives. After all. 
he often thought, reasoning in a circular 
pattern that never seemed to end, if I notice 
this again, I should be able to alert some- 
one, to warn someone, to save their lives. 
Yet if I were going to save their lives, would 
they then breathe in unison? If my parents 
had been warned and changed flights, he, 
thought, they wouldn't have died and there- 
fore wouldn't have breathed together, So I 
wouldn't have been able to warn them, and 
so they wouldn't have changed flights, and 
so they would have died, and so they would 
have breathed in unison, and so I would 
have noticed and warned them . . . 

More than anything that had ever passed j 
through his mind before, this thought en- u ' 
gaged him, and he was not easily dis- • 
tracted from it. It began to hurt his work; he \ 
slowed down, made mistakes, because he , 
concentrated only on breathing, listening [ 
constantly to the secretaries and other ex- ; 
ecutives in his company, waiting for the " 
fatal moment when they would breathe in " 
unison. | 

He was eating alone at a restaurant when I 
he heard it again. The sighs of breath came (. 
all together, from every table near him. It '- 
took him a few moments to be sure; then he \ 
leaped from the table and walked briskly D 
outside. He did not stop to pay, for the \ 
breathing was still in unison at every table \ 
right to the door of the restaurant. i 

The'maitre d', predictably, was annoyed k 
at his leaving without paying and called out j 
to him. Dale did not answer. "Wait! You ^ 
didn't pay! 1 ' cried the man, following Dale a 
out into the street. * 

Dale did not know how far he had to go i 
for safety from whatever danger faced ev- | 
eryone in the restaurant; he ended up hav- \ 
ing no choice in the matter. The maitre d' s 
stopped him on the sidewalk, only a few a 
doors down from the restaurant, and tried to $ 

pull him back toward the place. Dale resist- 
ing all the way. 

"You can't leave without paying. What do 
you think you're doing?" 

"I can't go back," Dale shouted. "I'll pay 
you. I'll pay you right here," And he fumbled 
in his wallet for the money as a huge explo- 
sion knocked him and the maltre □" to the 
ground. Flames erupted from the restau- 
rant, and people screamed as the building 
began crumbling from the force of the ex- 
plosion. It was impossible that anyone in- 
side the building cou'c! still be alive. 

The maitre d', his eyes wide with horror, 
stood up as Dale did and looked at him with 
dawning understanding. "You knew!" tie 
■said. "You knew!" 

Dale was acquitted at the trial — phone 
calls from a radical group and the pur- 
chase of large quantities of explosives in 
several states led to the indictment and 
co.nviction of someone else. But at the trial 
enough was said to convince Dale and 
several psychiatrists that something was 
seriously wrong with him. He was voluntari- 
ly committed to an institution, where Dr. 
Howard Rumming spent hours in conversa- 
tion with Dale, trying to understand his 
madness, his fixation on breathing as a 
sign of coming death, 

"I'm sane in every other way, aren't I, 
Doctor?" Dale asked, again and again. 
And repeatedly the doctor answered, 
"What is sanity? Who has it? How can / 

Often Dale was tempted to ask him what 
the hell he was doing trying to help the 
mentally deranged when he did not know 
what sanity was, what condition he was 
trying to bring the insane to achieve. But he 
never did. 

Instead he found that the mental hospital 
was not an unpleasant place to be. It was a 
private institution, and a lot of money had 
gone into it; most of the people there were 
voluntary commitments, which meant that 
conditions had to remain excellent. It was 
one of the things that made Dale grateful for 
his father's wealth. In the hospital he was 
safe; the only contact with the outside world 
was the television. Gradually he met 
people and became attached to them in 
the hospital, began to relax, to lose his ob- 
session with breathing, to stop listening 
quite so intently for the sound of inhalation 
and exhalation, the way that different 
people's breathing rhythms fit together. 
Gradually he began to be his old, distract- 
able self. 

"I'm nearly cured, Doctor," Dale an- 
nounced one day in the middle of a game of 

The doctor sighed. "I know it, Dale. I have 
to admit it— I'm disappointed. Not in your 
cure, you understand. It's just that you've 
been a breath of fresh air, you should par- 
don the expression." They both laughed a 
little. "I get so tired of middle-aged women 
with fashionable nervous breakdowns or 
mid-life crises." 

Dale was gammoned— the dice were all 
against him. But he took it well, knowing 

7? OMNI 

that next time he was quite likely to win 
handily— he usually did. Then he and Dr. 
Rumming got up from their table'and 
walked toward the front of the recreation 
room, where the television program had 
been interrupted by a special news bulle- 
tin. The people around the television 
looked disturbed, news was never allowed 
on the hospital television, and only a- bulle- 
tin like this could creep in. Dr. Rumming 
walked over to the set, intending to turn it 
off, but the words coming over the air were 
so alarming that he could not tear himself 

". . . from satellites fully capable of de- 
stroying every major city in the United 
States. The President was furnished with a 
list of fifty-four cities targeted by the orbit- 
ing missiles. One of these, said the com- 
munique, will be destroyed immediately to 
show that the threat is serious and will be 
carried out. Civil Defense authorities have 
been notified, and citizens of the fifty-four 
cities will be on standby for immediate 

£ Often Dale was 
tempted to ask him what 

the hell he was 
. doing trying to help the 

mentally deranged 
when he did not know what 

sanity was, what 
he was trying to achieve. 5 

evacuation." There folowed the normal 
parade of special reports and deep back- 
ground, but it was patently clear that the 
reporters were all afraid. 

Dale's mind could not stay on the pro- 
gram, however, because he was distracted 
by something far more compelling. Every 
person in the room was breathing in perfect 
unison, including Dale. He tried to break 
out of the rhythm and couldn't. 

It's just my fear, Dale thought. Just the 
broadcast, making me think that I hear the 

A Denver newsman came on the air then, 
overriding the network broadcast. "Denver, 
ladies and gentlemen, is one of the 
targeted cities. The city has asked us to 
inform you that orderly evacuation is to 
begin immediately. Obey all traffic laws and 
drive east from the city if you live in the 
following neighborhoods . . ." 

Then the newsman stopped and, breath- 
ing heavily, listened to something coming 
through his earphone. 

The newsman was breathing in perfect 
unison with all the people in the room. 

"Dale," Dr. Rumming said. 

Dale only breathed, feeling death poised 

above him in the sky. 

"Dale, can you hear the breathing?" 

Dale heard the breathing. 

The newsman spoke again. "Denver is 
definitely the target. The missiles have al- 
ready been launched. Please leave im- 
mediately. Do not stop for any reason. It is 
estimated that we have less than — less 
than three minutes. My God," he said, and 
got up from his chair, breathing heavily, 
running out of the range of the camera. No 
one turned any equipment off in the 
station— the tube ke-p: on showing the local 
news set, the empty chairs, the tables, the 
weather map. 

"We can't get out in time," Dr. Rumming 
said to the inmates in the room. "We're near 
the center of Denver. Our only hope is to lie 
on the floor. Try to get under tables and 
chairs as much as possible." The inmates, 
terrified, complied with the voice of au- 

"So much for my cure," Dale said, his 
voice trembling. Rumming managed a 
half-smile. They lay together in the middle 
of the floor, leaving the furniture for every- 
one else because they knew that the furni- 
ture would do no good at all. 

"You definitely don't belong here." Rum- 
ming told him. "I never met a saner man in 
all my life." 

Dale was distracted, however. Instead of 
his impending death he thought of Colly 
and Brian in their coffin. He imagined the 
earth being swept away in a huge wind, 
and the coffin being ashed immediately in 
the while explosion from the sky. The barrier 
is coming down at last, Dale thought, and I 
will be with them as completely as ft is 
possible to be. He thought ot Brian learning 
to walk, crying when he fell; he remem- 
bered Colly saying, "Don't pick him up 
every time he cries, or he'll just learn that 
crying gets results." And SO for three days 
Dale had listened to Brian cry and cry and 
never lifted a hand to help the boy. Brian 
learned to walk quite well, and quickly. But 
now, suddenly Dale felt again that irresist- 
ible impulse to pick Brian up, to put his 
son's pathetically red and weeping face on 
his shoulder, to say, "That's all right. Dad- 
dy's holding you." 

"That's all right, Daddy's holding you," 
Dale said aloud, softly Then there was a 
flash of white so bright that it could be seen 
as easily through the walls as through the 
window, for there were no wa : s, and all the 
breath was drawn out of their bodies at 
once, their voices robbed from them so 
suddenly that they all involuntarily shouted 
and then, forever, were silent. Their shout 
was taken up in a violent wind that swept 
the sound, wrung from every throat in per- 
fect unison, upward into the clouds forming 
over what had once been Denver. 

And in the last moment, as the shoutwas 
drawn from his lungs and the heat took his 
eyes out of his face Dale 'oalized that de- 
spite all his foreknowledge, the only life he 
had ever saved was that of a maitre 
d'hotel. whose life, to Dale, didn't mean a 
thing. OQ 



"We have been a nation of new 
ideas, new technology, 
new social experiments. Arewe 
going to be a part of the 
high frontier, or sit back and 
watch others do it?" 


Ever since Columbus made the rounds of potential royal 
backers, the exploration of new worlds has required as 
much persuasive salesmanship as it has intrepid naviga- 
tion. Few men in that tradition have been as articulate as Professor 
Gerard K. O'Neill, a high-energy physicist who has become the 
most prominent advocate of a wide-open future in space. (O'Neill 
nearly became an astronaut -he was a finalist when the recruit- 
ment of civilian scientists by NASA was halted in T967.) 

In both scientific and popular articles, in lectures and on televi- 
sion talk shows, and in his successful ijook The High Frontier 
(William Morrow, 1977; Bantam, 1978), O'Neill has argued that the 
x unlimited energy (produced by solar cells and mirrors) and mate- 
£ rials (mined on the moon and the asteroids) offered by space 
£ could make possible a new and attractive life for thousands or 
| even millions of people. What distinguishes his proposals from 
I most earlier ideas is that the space habitats he envisions would not 
£ be metal-walled, compartmentalized "space stations" but large. 

open environments with soil and greenery, even with internal skies 
in which clouds could float in reflected sunshine. 

O'Neill's central point is not a matter of technology but one ot 
basic physics: that the many stable orbital regions in ;he earth- 
moon system are "high ground" in terms of potential energy. In 
O'Neill's view, the established pattern of earth-based space explo- 
ration, by launching costly chemical rockets, should be replaced 
as soon as possible by permanent habitation and large-scale 
■nanufaclLi-n:': in space, where energy is effectively unlimited and 
the only gravitalional forces would be ones created deliberately by 
rotating the habitats. 

It was basic physics, loo, that led to O'Neill's major contribution 
as an experimental physicist: the particle-storage ring. As any 
high-school physics student knows, a head-on collision between 
two moving objects yields more energy than the impact of a moy- 
ng object against a stationary target. In 1956 O'Neill and several 
others independently worked out a method lo bring two beams of 

electrons into collision. After developing a needed tast-acting 
magnet with Princeton student V Korenman, O'Neill brought a 
workable design to Wolfgang Panofsky, of Stanford University. The ■ 
storage rings yielded their first data in 1965, and the rings have 
served as models for many other rings built since then. 

In 1969. beginning with an exploratory seminar for a few ot his 
students, O'Neill started to develop the ideas that would grow into 
The High Frontier. Although it took five years to find a forum in print, 
O'Neill does not regret the lag. "It gave people a chance to think 
about the possibilities," he says, "and to make their own assess- 
ments. People would raise questions, and I'd go off and think 
about them and find solutions, and that was very worthwhile. The 
ideas kept evolving all along, but there's nothing I regret or would 
ike to retract." 

In 1974 space colonization began to draw national attention after 
a small conference at Princeton. Since then, O'Neill has divided 
-his time as it has become apparent that even in the supposedly 

antitechnological 1970s his ideas have revived and expanded 
public interest in space. 

Today he continues to combine his teaching will i his vision of the. 
future; Enough of his undergraduate and graduate students are 
working on projects connected with space colonization to make 
his office the center of a cottage industry. At home his wife, Tasha, 
manages the affairs of the Space Studies Institute. In spare mo- 
ments O'Neill works on a forthcoming graduate physics textbook 
and even finds time to relax- by flying a lightplane to workshops, 
lecture dates, and Washington, D.C. 

The pace clearly agrees with him. At fifty-two, he appears a 
dozen years younger, and he discusses space colonization with as 
much enthusiasm and animation as if the idea had just taken hold 
of him. While the rest of us may have to look to space for unlimited 
energy, Gerard O'Neill displays it here and now as he points the 
way' Professor O'Neill was interviewed for Omni by contributing 
editor Monte Davis. 

Omni: Your proposals have opened a de- 
bate that goes far beyond their technical 
and economic aspects. Some argue that 
the "high frontier" will bring more of the 
same aggressive, exploitative behavior 
that has already gotten us into trouble; 
others maintain that it represents an inevi- 
table and desirable next step for humanity. 
Has it surprised you to see this polariza- 

O'Neill: No. because the motives that origi- 
nally led me into the whole business were 
largely humanistic ones. The Club of 
Rome's limits-to-growth study for example, 
concluded that because of inescapable 
physical facts we would have to abandon 
the development of greater individual free- 
dom and accept a much more regulated 
life, with diminished options— not just for us 
but for our children and their children and 
so on, forever. I reacted to that with dismay 
and shock. It sounded like a hell of a world 
to leave to my kids. 

Omni: Then the social implications were in 
your mind from the beginning? 
O'Neill; Yes. The first drafts of my original 
article, which appeared inPhysics Today in 
1974 after five years and eight drafts, were 
much more concerned with the human as- 
pects. Succeeding drafts became more 
technical in order to answer the technical 
questions and objections that were raised 
along the way. 

Omni: How do you answer the charge that 
space colonization is a "technological fix," 
a cop-out that evades dealing with our 
problems on Earth? 

O'Neill: You make solution of any problem 
more difficult when you constrain the range 
of solutions you're willing to consider. By 
opening up the option tree, you find new 
possibilities, such as moving fuel-burning 
industries off the earth into space, where 
they can run on clean solar energy. Cer- 
tainly over the last few years we've recoiled 
from high-technology plans, indeed from 
any large-scale initiatives that might have 
profound consequences, because we've 
felt very aculely the sense of original sin 
that grew out of the Vietnam War. But that 
war was politically motivated, not techno- 
logically motivated. 
Omni: Even among your supporters, there 

are widely different reasons for enthusiasm 
about the high frontier and widely different 
visions of the futures it could lead to. Are all 
those reasons, all those visions, really 

O'Neill: I'm sure there's no single, mono- 
lithic idea of how it should go. In my book I 
took pains to make clear how different my 
idea is from "classical" Utopias, in that I 
don't prescribe how people should make 
use of this opportunity. If there are many 
reasons, many visions, fine— that's just 
what I had in mind. I know an avowed 
Maoist who says that space colonization is 
the logical extension of Mao's "decentral- 
ization of authority"; then there are people 
from the Libertarian party who say it's the 
ultimate in individualism; then there are 
those with a traditional, large-scale capi- 
talist outlook, and so on. Incompatible? It 
doesn't disturb me at all. 
Omni: But doesn't the scale of the propos- 
als work against variety? Your Island Three, 
tor example, is twenty miles long and may 
house ten million people. Many people 
think, as Freeman Dyson does [Omni Inter- 
view, October 19781, that any project that 
big, involving many billions of dollars and 
inevitable large-scale organization, can't 
avoid having a great deal of regimentation 
imposed on it. 

O'Neill: The question of scale is one that 
only history will decide. The most difficult 
thing to do in space is simply to get there, 
to overcome a gravitational potential 
equivalent to that of a four-thousand-mile- 
high mountain That means there's a 
minimum step, a "quantum jump," that you 
have to make. People look at the difficulties 
ot that step — and they are very great dif- 
ficulties, requiring a great technical 
effort— and they associate everything af- 
terwards with that scale of effort. But what I 
have in mind in the long term is that very 
small groups, even a few families, could be 
self-supporting and independent. 

In fact, there's an interesting diseconomy 
of scale in building space habitats: Beyond 
the range ot fifty thousand to a hundred 
thousand inhabitants, the vessels become 
less and less efficient in terms of structural 
mass. After that, you'd be better off, 
technically — as well as in terms of social 

variety— building a number of indepen- 
dent habitats rather than one big one. 
Omni: What is the minimum scale for the 
first step? What kind of industrial base do 
you need to collect and process the lunar 
raw material, to send it up, and to start 
building space habitats? 
O'Neill: That's a question we've been ad- 
dressing recently in a series of workshops 
funded by NASA and our own Space 
Studies Institute — SSI helped out because 
of the dicey situation at NASA. Besides 
Brian O'Leary and myself from Princeton, 
the workshops included Dave Criswell, of 
the Lunar and Planetary Institute; Bob Wal- 
dron, an extractive metallurgist; Jim Arnold, 
of the University of California at San Diego, 
an expert on lunar geology; and Charley 
Rosen, one of the world's leading au- 
thorities on practical automation. He built 
up the Stanford Research Institute group, 
which is responsible for a lot of the indus- 
trial robots working in factories today. 

We concluded that a setup to process 
lunar materials into pure elements could be 
built on a scale small enough to fit in the 
shuttle payload bay. A plant that size could 
process two thousand tons a year, and it 
could operate unattended for long periods. 
Waldron and Rosen found that the only 
components subject to wearing out would 
be containers for the higher-temperature 
chemical reactions— and those could be 
replaced from spares by standard hand- 
and-arm industrial robots in fixed mount- 
ings. Our overall conclusion was that you 
could make the "first quantum jump" to a 
minimum productive level with less than 
twenty shuttle launches. To reach that first 
level, only a few people would be needed, 
mainly for installation and occasional main- 

Omni: It's hard to imagine so few people 
building a chemical-processing plant or a 
mass driver. 

O'Neill: The essential notion is that nearly 
everything is assembled and tested on 
Earih before it's taken up in units sized to 
the shuttle's cargo bay. There'd be a 
shakedown period first, mainly to check the 
pressure and the vacuum joints. On the 
moon you'd connect the pretested pro- 
cessing plant to its solar-cell power supply. 

landed separately. The first products could 
include.silicon tor more solar cells, to power 
a mass driver thai we'd install later. That, 
too, would be pretested-. Remember a 
mass driver that could send up six hundred 
thousand tons per year would weigh only 
two hundred fifty tons, far less than the big 
solar-cell array that would power it. 
Omni; What about cost? 
O'Neill: For the first step? Well, as I said, 
there's no denying it's a big step; 1 can't 
imagine doing it for less than billions of 
dollars. Quite possibly, ■.hough, we could 
do it for under ten billion, which puts it on 
the scale of something like the Alaska 
pipeline. That's not out of reach by an in- 
dustrial consortium Or even by a large 
group of individuals that gets contributions 
from all over the world. 
Omni: To get thai hind of commitment from 
individuals, you'd need a program very dif- 
ferent from Apollo— not that it wasn't excit- 
ing to see human beings on the moon, but 
the astronauts were so few and so specially 
prepared that it was hard to identify with 

O'Neill: Yes, many people have concluded 
that it's a pity the Apollo program didn't 
develop more logically. It was highly visible 
and goal-oriented but essentially "one- 
shot," What was there to do for an encore? If 
we had had space manufacturing and 
habitation in mind from the start, we'd have 
gone about it very differently— and it could 
well be happening now, because it would 
have a continuing direction and purpose. 
Omni: A moment ago. you spoke of the "di- 
cey situation" at NASA. How does that look? 
O'Neill: Grim! NASA concluded this year 
that it's done enough reviews to verify the 
economic value of using nonterrestrial ma- 
terials and to identify the technologies for it 
that should be developed; so those verifi- 
cation studies have been terminated. But 
no action's been taken yet to develop such 
identified technologies as chemical pro- 
cessing, The mass driver is in a separate 
category; research continues on it because 
it has application as a general-purpose 
reaction engine in space. When I was 
asked after a lecture what NASA's plans 
were for a return to the moon by Americans; 
I had to say. none, until at least the year 
2020— fifty years after Apollo. At that, the 
questioner came back with: "Then we're 
going to need passports when we land 

Omni: The President's chief science ad- 
viser, Frank-Press, has told us [Omni Inter- 
view, June 1979] that "the 'new frontier' in 
space is not going to be one big, glamor- 
ous, expensive thing; it is going to be many, 
many projects of moderate scale." That 
certainly seems to exclude your proposals 

O'Neill: That's consistent with the Presi- 
dent's statement last October But I find that 
everywhere people are excited only by the 
larger vision of a wide-open future on the 
new frontier in space. It will be interesting to 
see whether Mr. Carter perceives and suc- 
cessfully identifies with that mood, or 

whether it will be some, later president who 
does so. 

Omni: In an era of lowered expectations — 
however short it may be— aren't people like 
Press in a strong position? They can say 
they're defending the taxpayers' money 
against wild-eyed dreamers, concentrating 
on immediate goals with immediate pay- 
ors, arc so on. 

O'Neill: Experience has shown that when 
the payoff is near term, private industry can 
do a better job than government. But gov- 
ernment does have a unique role that it 
should be filling, and that's to support re- 
search toward the development of whole 
new industries that are going to give mil- 
lions of new jobs in ten or twenty years. 
Private companies can't fill that role, be- 
cause it's beyond their time horizon. The 
Japanese do understand that difference, 
and that's one of (he main reasons they're 
clobbering us economically 
Omni: Governor Brown of California is 
known for both a conservative view of gov- 
ernment spending and an enthusiastic ad- 
vocacy of space activities. How does that 
combination strike you? 
O'Neill: I don't want to put words in his 
mouth, but it seems to me that those view- 
points are entirely compatible. If the coun- 
try is in economic difficulties, we ought to 
be, above all. concerned with how to make 
more money— to create new wealth and 
productivity. Before you have any money 
either to save or to redistribute, you've got 

to go out and make ft My own Reeling is that 
if there's a dollar that's not desperately 
needed to keep people i'c-m starving, we 
should be spending it in away that will earn 
back ten more dollars. Then we'll have 
seven dollars to spend on improving the 
human condition, three for this or that, and 
still have our original dollar, 
Omni: Then you think that space manufac- 
turing and habitation can be productive on 
a far larger scale than the "spin-offs" we 
received in the 1960s? 
O'Neill: Much more so. We have a high 
standard of living and m-gh labor costs, and 
in an increasingly technological world we 
have only a few years in any new field be- 
fore others begin selling our innovations 
back to us at prices we can't match. That's 
happened with home eiect'omes and a ot 
of other things, and it may happen soon 
with computers. Space offers a peaceful 
new development in which we could play a 
leading role. What else do we have tooff set 
what some economists predict will be a 
one-hundred-billion-dollar trade deficit by 

Omni: What kinds of payoff do you foresee? 
It's not likely to be worthwhile to ship either 
raw material or finished products down that 
fou'-inousand-mile-high mountain. 
O'Neill: One study by the Aerospace Cor- 
poration a couple of years ago concluded 
that over a number of years there will be 
good reasons to have several tens of 

They were a wild, 
turbulent race of savages, 
and studying them led to 
danger, madness 



The Anpreene observed the onrush 
of human history with cold 
curiosily. They were perplexed by 
a race so heterogeneous and so 
volatile, and fascinated by a planet so 
perfectly suited to the projected 
needs of their own people. 

Water was abundant on this world, 
and the atmosphere was rich, 
Whereverthis world differed from the 
home worlds of the Domination, the 
difference favored the new planet. 
Its dominant race was energetic, 
with some physical resemblance 
to the earlier, smaller stages of 
Anpreene development. It appeared 
strong enough lo provide useful 
servants while not sufficiently durable 
or intelligent to be a source of danger. 
The residents of this pleasant planet 
were brisk, scampering little creatures 
who lived their lives at an incredibly 
accelerated pace. Study of them 
promised to be interesting, 

The Anpreene were a long-lived 
people: their ways were methodical 
and unhurried, They investigated 
every action and its possible 
consequences with great care and 
did not undertake a conquest lightly 
Their race disliked surprises. 

Concealed from human perception, 
they narrowed the focus of their 
instruments, closing on a suitable 
objective. Earthly years whirled by 
beneath them, and earthly creatures 
scurried through their little lifetimes. 
The selector focused on a sequence 
of events and probabilities. It locked 


on a single person and a single instant. The 
Empath and the Conceptualizes took their 
places around the selector locus, and the 
Assessors gathered to observe. 

The selector hummed. The Anpreene 
ship, the surrounding space, the narrow 
gathering beam that reached downward to 
the robed iigure, and the heap of smolder- 
ing green wood were -all instantaneously 
plucked from the weave of space and time 
and held suspended in an otherwhere and 
otherwhen. The first specimen was drawn 
aboard the ship. 

It was a female of the earthly species. 
She collapsed in a heap on the base of the 
focal area, her wrenched legs and lacer- 
ated feet unable to support her weight. 
Raising herself on one bruised, bloody 
hand, she lifted the other high and cried, 
"Praise Godl Praise to Thy name, Lord! 
Thou hast delivered Thy servant from the 
wrath of the enemy!" 

She attempted to rise but could not. She 
began to recount her sufferings and told of 
torments inflicted on her and others for rea- 
sons the Anpreene Conceptualizers had 
difficulty assimilating. Her speech grew 
wild and incoherent. They let her rant on, 
uninterrupted, until she slumped forward 
and was silent. 

"The creature believes thai she is in the 
presence of a superior being from her ra- 
cial myth," the Conceptualizers trans- 
mitted. This myth appears to hold great 
significance for these creatures. We sug- 
gest immediate action in accordance with 
her belief." 

In a gentle, melodious human voice, the 
Empath asked, "Why hast thou suffered so, 
my daughter?" 

She raised her head and gazed upon the 
towering white-clad figure of the Anpreene, 
shining with a subdued golden aura. "I 
would not deny Thee! Not even on the rack 
would 1 deny my God and Savior and His 
one true faith, and Thou hast plucked me 
from the flames!" 

The Empath searched deep in her tor- 
tured mind for the proper terms in which to 
couch its response, It stretched forth a pale 
hand in a gesture of benediction. "My child, 
the cup cannot pass. This is but a foretaste 
of the joy that awaits when thou hast 
passed through the flame. Be steadfast," 
the Empath said. 

A look of fear came into the hollow, 
haunted eyes, and then the woman said, 
"Thou art just in all things, Lord. Thy will be 

The selector hummed once again, and 
the woman vanished, returning to her pyre 
within a nanosecond of her departure. Her 
scream as the flames rose around her was 
drowned out by the rumble of the fire and 
the cries of the crowd. 

From that time and place, the selector 
took a total of twenty-eight specimens, 
snatching each one from the instant before 
death— when the blade was at the nape or 
the knot was just about to close on the 
throat or the rising smoke and flame 


brought an end lo long agony. The selector 
could not erase memories, but it could take 
specimens who would never have the op- 
portunity to speak those memories to 
others of their species. 

All those from that period reacted in a 
similar manner. When the selector had hur- 
tled the last one back to his destined end 
on the block, the Anpreene returned their 
ship and all aboard it to normal time and 
space and turned to the next stage of their 
exacting duties. 

For the Empath alone, there was no task 
awaiting. The Empath was released at 
once to enter the trancelike state, called 
pentrecane by the Anpreene, which 
stored body and mind after close 
ion with an alien identity. Deprived of pen- 
trecane, an Empath would be ovei 
whelmed by the sheer vital force of an ir 
truding presence; the alien manner and 
thinking process would be ineradicable. 

While the Empath restored its mental and 
physical integrity, the others aboard the 

QThe Assessors 
communed; the Empath and 
the Conceptual- 
izers prepared themselves 
for the next 
contact; the earth spun 
through more 
years. The ship moved — *> 

Anpreene vessel were busy. Conceptualiz- 
ers structured and collated their findings; 
Assessors evaluated them; and all the 
while the selector replenished its power for 
the next gathering of specimens. 

After long deliberation, the Assessors 
concluded that the physical heterogeneity 
of this race had directly and drastically in- 
fluenced its social development. Unlike the 
Anpreene. who were a single people with a 
single purpose, these creatures were 
fragmented to the point of chaos. Their dif- 
ferences appeared to be deep-seated and 
the cause of great cruelty. It remained to be 
determined whether this fragmentation 
was a phase on the race's way to civiliza- 
tion or a racial characteristic inherent in all. 

The Assessors communed; the Empath 
and the Conceptualizers prepared them- 
■ selves for the next contact. The earth spun 
through more years; the ship moved to 
another part of the planet; and the instru- 
ments began their search once more. 

This time the iirsl specimen was a male. 
He blinked, looked hard at the Empath, 
then smiled sardonically. "So. A clever trick, 
I admit, whiskindme here just as I expect to 
die;" he said in a tongue quite different from 

that of the first group. "Tell me, where are 
the rest of the tribunal? Where are the fat 
priests and the nobles who dins on the 
people's flesh? Are they hiding some- 
where, cowering in fear of the words of a 
condemned man?" 

He looked at thejeatureless walls, then 
shook a fist and cried in a thundering voice, 
"Well may you hide from my words, you 
butchers! But seek where you will, no place 
will give you refuge. You will kill me. but my 
words will live and rouse the people to ac- 
tion. We will burn your churches, burn your 
chateaus, burn your tax rolls, and feed the 
flame with your bloated guts. Oh, yes, my 
lords and masters, the people will rise. 
They've long been patient, but their pa- 
tience is coming to an end. Does my lady 
wish a new pendant to grace her white 
bosom? Squeeze the blood from a 
thousand peasants, and she shall have her 
bauble. Does my lord desire a new team for 
his carriage? Take the food from a 
thousand hungry children, and give my 
lord his horses, Or perhaps my lord the 
archbishop ..." 

He spoke on. in a torrent of words and 
angry gestures, while the Conceptualizers 
fitted his speech into the cultural patterns 
the ship's instruments had gathered and 
the Empath probed his mind for a 
framework in which to structure communi- 
cation when the Conceptualizers advised 
it. But the Conceptualizers concluded, 
"This creature believes his function is the 
repeated and forceful expression of a fixed 
belief-structure. Productive communica- > 
tion extremely unlikely We recommend no 

When the specimen had completed his 
speech, he was returned whence he had 
come. The second specimen said much 
the same as the first, but the third said the 
exact opposite of the first two, though he 
used many of the same terms and con- 
cepts, In all, the selector took nineteen 
specimens from this period, and the As- 
sessors found them to represent eleven 
distinct and irreconcilable views of the so- 
cial reality. 

Deliberation on these specimens re- 
sulted in a strong reaffirmation of the orig- 
inal conclusion and created much con- 
fusion among the Assessors. A race so 
utterly disunited as to border on total indi- 
vidualism was all but unimaginable to the 
Anpreene. Such a race might be spoken of 
in theory, but in existence it could not long 
survive. Survival requires unity, and unity 
ensures survival; This was the basic law of 
the Anpreene Domination, the fundamental 
principle governing the lives and thoughts 
of twelve planets and sixteen colonies, and 
it was beyond question. 

And yet this race not only survived its 
fragmentation but appeared to thrive on it. 
During the interval— brief by Anpreene 
standards— in which the Acquisitors were 
gathering information and the Zetetics 
were organizing it for the next mission of the 
Conceptualizers and the Empath, the 
population of the planet increased twen- 




due the next ing to the computer or by typing appear as a synthesis of his fa- 

,, to do an entire on a keyboard. In fact, when Lee vorite college professors and re- 

_nd get the writ- had trouble thinking, Cy would spected business leaders. 

ing finished' that soon. Cy, a often help organize his ideas into "The chief wants a preliminary 

; interface device," coherent paraaraohs. market analvsis for mining the 

npuler terminal would h 
;n one hooked into the Lib. _. , 

and the New York tioninq 
Library, but I 
iplifier w 

the price. It responi 
Lee's thoughts, calling i 
mation and taking dictation as we work on today?" asked C 
quickly as he could think. The image, projected directly i 
i not interrupted by talk- Lee's brain and programmec 


■rning. May I suggest you — 
■ '-— data on mininq the 

After what seemed like hours, Lee 
stopped the summary so he could tape his 
report. As he dictated, the computer image 
occasionally asked whether he wanted to 
rephrase something. Then Cy projected a 
series of graphs and color photos from the 
Jovian system onto Lee's visual cortex. Lee 
selected several, added captions, and or- 
dered, "Okay, put it on the net to the office, 
and let's call it a day." 

He checked the clock. It told him he had 
been linked to Cy for 28 minutes. A good 
day's work! 

Will electronic computers replace the 
human brain? Will computer-directed 
robots make men obsolete 7 Or will com- 
puters take over so completely that human 
beings are themselves turned into robots? 
As electronic computer circuits get smaller 
and more powerful and robots begin to re- 
place human beings in repetitive clerical 
tasks and manual labor, many people have 
come to believe that these questions have 
already been answered and that the 
human race is coming away with the short 
end of the stick. 

They are wrong. Human beings and 
computers should not be viewed as an- 
tagonists. They're not. The electronic com- 
puter is a tool developed by humans that 
happens to be smaller and faster than the 
tools it has replaced: pencil and paper. 

To date, the computer's power has been 
applied only to complex calculations or to 
simple, repetitive chores. That will not al- 
ways be so. We will eventually build the first 
intelligence amplifier, a blend of computer 
and brain, optimizing both. We will link the 
brain and nervous system directly to the 
electronic computer, without the cumber- 
some keyboards, printers, and TV displays 
we use today. The computer will become 
not an antagonist but the ultimate extension 
of our reasoning, memory, and computa- 
tional ability. 

We. are closer to building an intelligence 
amplifier than most people realize. A primi- 
tive way to teed information from the human 
nervous system to a computer has already 
been worked out, and we may also have the 
technology to send it from a computer to 
the brain. It remains only to take these lab- 
oratory demonstrations and put them 
together in the first "interlace device." 

That is not to say that all the technical 
details have been resolved. Enormous 
problems remain, many of them stemming 
from the great differences between the two 
kinds of systems we are trying to join. The 
electronic computer is made up of crystal- 
line, solid-state semiconductors. The 
atoms in a crystal are arranged in rigid 
arrays known as lattices. The interatomic 
forces that hold the lattice together usually 
make crystalline materials very strong. 
Most metals, for example, are crystalline. 
The human nervous system, in contrast, is 
made of colloids, amorphous, often jellylike 
materials in which atoms and large 
molecules are suspended at random. 

86 OMNI 

There is no lattice structure in a colloid. 

Electronic computers carry information 
as a flow of electrons through the crystal 
lattice. Crystalline "brains" are therefore 
very fast. The human brain codes its infor- 
mation as a relatively slow flow of atoms 
and molecules through the colloidal mass. 
Our nerves use two types of data carrier; 
large molecules, called neurotransmitters, 
that flow across the synapse, or gap, be- 
tween nerve cells, and ions, charged atoms 
that move along the nerve to generate an 
electrical impulse. 

There is one important similarity in the 
way crystalline and colloidal systems 
transmit information. Both seem to operate 
by a binary code. Data in a computer are 
broken into "bits." An electronic circuit is 
switched on or off, and all information, no 
matter how complex, is recorded in this 
two-unit code. Similarly, a neuron either 
fires an electrical impulse or does not. 
There are no in-betweens. 

Yet crystalline and colloidal brains pro- 

iThe colloidal and 
crystalline brains both 

operate electrically, 

both with a binary code. 

But nerves work 

with atoms and molecules. 

Computers use electrons 

—a billion times faster.^ 

cess information very differently because 
of their contrasting structures. Because 
nerve cells operate by the movement of 
large, slow atoms and molecules, their 
reaction times are measured in mil- 
liseconds, or thousandths of a second. The 
fastest nerve cells carry electrical impulses 
at only 20 meters or so per second. The 
modern crystalline computer operates in 
picoseconds, or thousand-billionths of a 
second. This is a difference of a billion 
times, or nine orders of magnitude. (This is 
why a modern computer can operate in a 
"time-sharing" mode, in which hundreds of 
humans are working with it at once.) 

From a human viewpoint, a computer 
operates instantaneously. Push the button, 
and the answer appears, even though the 
computer has gone through over a million 
calculations. It is the sheer speed of crys- 
talline systems that appears to bother 
many human beings, who, by their very 
nature, act slower, even though they are 
vastly more complex than a computer 

For a computer, talking with a human 
being takes a long time. Even with a direct 
link to the human nervous system, a com- 
puter must send its information a billion 

times slower than it is able to, then wait the 
equivalent of six years for a reply! If a com- 
puter could feel emotions, it would proba- 
bly be exceedingly bored. 

Compensating for this speed difference 
is one of the most important technical prob- 
lems in creating an intelligence amplifier. 
Engineers have spent years speeding up 
crystalline circuitry. Computers operate so 
quickly that the need to wait while an elec- 
tron moves a tew thousandths of a centime- 
ter is beginning to delay their operations. 
The state of the art is rapidly approaching 
the point where the movement of a single 
electron through the crystal lattice will be 
enough to transfer a bit of information. 

Now, somehow, we must either slow down 
the computer's crystalline system or speed 
up the human colloidal system. Fortunately, 
slowing the crystalline computer presents 
no problem. Only those circuits that com- 
municate directly with our nervous system 
must be adapted. After all, this is what the 
colloidal system does. Our autonomic ner- 
vous system doesn't interface with the 
consciousness and the thinking circuits 
until we become aware of our heartbeat or 
other automatic functions. 

The system would be more efficient, 
though, if people could absorb information 
more quickly. The brain's complexity may 
make this possible. Unlike computers. 
which can perform only one operation at a 
time, the brain compensates for its slow 
response by splitting up nerve signals and 
sending them over many channels at once, 
then recombining them at the receiving 
end. This technique — electronics en- 
gineers call it multiplexing, and they use it 
in sophisticated stereo and communica- 
tions equipment— lets the colloidal brain 
carry out a vast number of operations si- 

Thanks to multiplexing, we may be able 
to speed our information intake by a factor 
of ten or more with special training — once 
we learn enough about human thought 
processes. We may actually think much 
faster than simplistic measurements of 
neuron response suggest. We already 
know that "psychological time" can be 
quite different from "physical time." 

This whole area of psychological time. , 
human thought processes, and the mul- = 
tichannel nature of our brain is ripe for seri- g 
ous investigation. It is a real pity that 5 
psychedelic drugs came along almost si- § 
multaneously with one of our culture's fe 
periodic swings into Dionysian romanti- | 
cism. These substances could have be- a 
come an important tool for this research. j= 
They still may, once the furor dies down, g 
The Oriental shaman may have learned to $ ■ 
control psychological time ages ago. If we 8 
cannot gather good, solid data in the area & 
from highs, trips, and mysticism, perhaps « 
we can be led to it by the distrusted com- | 
puter and intelligence amplifier. 

All this assumes, of course, that we can | 
actually link the colloidal and crystalline £ 



How an army of lizards 
missed the train 


i new pictorial 
novel by Harry Harrison and Jim 
Burns dramatizes the sense of 
experimentation publishers are 
now bringing to science fiction, 

P'anef Story opens with an ec- 
centric space commander who 
decides that the fragile planet 
Sabinus is an ideal spot to pur- 
sue his hobby: driving antique 
locomotives. A monstrous ma- 
chine is dispatched to lay track 
indiscriminately over the tiny 
planet's surface. 

The mothership descends on 
Sabinus to off-load a gold-plated 
locomotive. The commander's 
entourage boards Ihe train and 
roars off down computer-built 
tracks. II becomes immediately 
clear lo everyone on board that 
Sabinus is not uninhabited. 
Lizardlike aliens appear every- 
where. Their outrage at the earth- 
ling assault is a call to battle, but 
their puny spears are no match 
for the speeding train. 

Having leveled one alien en- 
clave, the train stops on the far 
side ol a simulated London 
Bridge. The commander asserts 
that no manner of lizardoid 
"greenie" will disrupt his pen- 
chant for rodding and railing. 

P'ut'o: Puuhsnir.i ■_■ 

£ Lasers burned to the accompaniment 

of shrill alien screams. Depressed by their newest 

failure, the lizards withdrew. ' 

The commander '& ruminations are rudely interrupted by a 
squadron oflizardoids straddling pterodactyllike beasts. Their 

armament, to everyone's astonishment, is feces. "They're 
divecrapping us!" yells the commander, conl/dent that the aliens 

are harmless. The train lurches toward the next obstacle— 
a wall built across the tracks. From behind it the lizardoids pelt the 

locomotive with boulders. Short, powerful bursts of laser are 
the train's response. The aliens are gone long before their wall is. 

^Supertrack cut the lizardoid city 

exactly in two, which is why the aliens had 

prepared a pointed welcome. 9 

The train rolls on to the outskirts ot what appears to be the capita! at 

lizardoidom. Awaiting the locomotive is a giant spike set on 

the tracks, there to impale the oncoming aa::h;iogs. The time has 

come to parley with these aliens, talking through a 

translator, the two sides reach an agreement; The train will go tree 

- - it the humans help the lizardoids defeat the latier's mortal 

enemy, a gaggle ot crustaceans. The lizardoids prepare to scout 

enemy lines in a spy balloon. Several humans go along. 

6/As soon as those lizardoids grab us, 

they'll nationalize your 

railroad and you'll follow us through 

the kitchen.^ 

The balloon veers too close to crustacean 

AA batteries and is shot down. In the melee that follows. 

our human heroins is captured and 

carried away to the lobsier king. Far too smart for the 

crusty monarch, she quickly takes 

him prisoner He offers to deal. His "people " are in 

trouble. The lizardoids want to eat them. 

Humans, he assures the commander, will be next. 

Convinced, the commander agrees to dupe the 

lizardoids into following his train away 

from the defense/ess lobsters. Aware only at the last 

minute of this trickery, the lizard hordes 

charge after the train— but the locomotive is safe. 

it chugs off into the final episode of Plane! Story, 

brought to you this tall by A&W Publishers (New York). 


Athlete-inventors prove the 
human body can break the national 
55-mph speed limit 



The bicycle has always had 
considerable appeal to 
those who love clean and 
silent transportation. The 
bike is healthy and 
nonpolluting. uses no fossil 
fuels— certainly no nuclear 
energy— and doesn't even 
require solar panels. 

But, car lovers say— and 
this group includes the 
majority of the American 
people— the bicycle is stow, 
and when it rains you get 

Well, that's simply no 
longer true. 

Thanks to a group of 
inventors who race their 
strange unmotorized 
vehicles every spring at the 
International Human Pow- 
ered Speed Championships, 
the bicycle is now capable of 
hitting the national speed 
limit of 55 mph. And that, you 
may recall, is as fast as any 
automobile is supposed to 
be driven. 

This augurs well for the 
day when our oil wells go 
dry, for there may be a 
beautiful, streamlined 
bicycle waiting tor us that 
anyone in reasonable 
condition will be able to 
pedal along at commuter- 
traffic speeds, or even faster. 
And this bike of the future 
will most likely be 
enclosed— not so much to 
protect the rider against the 

Speed Championship entrants 
try out an unusual positron. 

rain as to help the bike cut 
through the wind. 

The creative people who 
are responsible for this 
renaissance in bicycle 
design will be found at their 
best not in musty labora- 
tories but on the various 
California drag strips and 
racetracks where the 
Human Powered Speed 
Championships are held. 

This bizarre bicycle race 
is a carnival for inventors. It 
has only one important rule. 
Race vehicles must be 
powered strictly by humans, 
with no help from gravity, 
wind, or stored energy of any 
kind. Other than that, 
anything that goes. goes. 
Since the inception of the 
race in 1975, more than 100 
vehicles have been specially 
built for the race, and usually 
they don't bear even a faint 
resemblance to one another. 
Some are pedaled by a rider 
lying on his belly or on his 
back, Some cost S43 with a 
trade-in of used bicycle 
parts; others cost over 

$3,000. The only thing they all have in 
common is that they are all trying to achieve 
the same goal; to reach the highest speed 
that humans are capable of under their own 

One approach was a superbly stream- 
lined tricycle called White Lightning, built 
by automotive engineering students from 
Northrup University in southern California. 
Over five meters (17 feet) long, but only 0.6 
meter (two feet) wide, one meter (three 
feet) tall, and weighing 32 kilograms (70 
pounds), the vehicle was powered by two 
riders in reclining position. They were 
wholly enclosed in a light streamlined shell 
made of honeycomb material and fiber- 
glass. In 1978 the machine was clocked at 
54.43 mph, with a total power input of less 
than 1.5 horsepower. This makes it the most 
efficient vehicle ever invented and the one 
with the smallest energy consumption in 
history per mile per pound load at that 

To most North Americans or Europeans, 
this accomplishment might not seem spec- 
tacular; 55 mph is not fast— one sees vehi- 
cles every day that travel far faster. In fact, 
some people think that an ordinary racing 
bicycle is capable of 55 mph. This is plainly 
impossible on the level with no wind. It 
would take over three horsepower to drive a 
bicycle at 55 mph, which no human being 
is capable of achieving. The world's 
greatest cycle athlete was clocked at a 
disputed speed of 42.2 mph over 200 me- 
ters with a flying start. Racing tandems 
have been timed at over 45 mph, but no one 
has yet even approached 50 mph on an 
ordinary bicycle without help. When I say 
"without help," I mean that bicycles have 
exceeded 55 mph on a steep decline or 
ridden behind motorized vehicles that 
nearly enclose the cyclists and shield them 
from all wind resistance. The record for a 
bicycle following a race car is 140.5 mph, 
set by Dr Allan Abbott on the Bonneville 
salt flats. But this is a different thing entirely: 
The cyclist has only to pedal against rolling 
friction, which is a small fraction of the wind 
resistance. (Dr. Abbott has since become a 
pioneer of unaided bicycle racing as 
well — more about him later.) 

Overcoming wind resistance is the se- 
cret to high speed and efficiency- on a 
bicycle. Over 15 mph, wind drag is more 
than 80 percent of the mechanical force 
opposing the motion of a bicycle, One 
might go slightly faster by improving such 
things as the tires, the bearings, or the me- 
chanical drive mechanism, but, by improv- 
ing the aerodynamic shape, the overall 
drag force of a bicycle can easily be cut in 

Anyone putting his hand out of an au- 
tomobile window at high speeds can feel 
that wind has tremendous force. If you 
place your hand palm forward, your hand 
acts like an oar and creates a huge drag, 
whereas, turned parallel to the ground, 
your hand slices cleanly through the air 
with a fraction of the resistance. Sky divers 
use wind drag to maneuver through the sky. 
98 OMNI 

If they assume a diver's posture with head 
and arms downward, they can drop like a 
bomb at over 200 mph, or, by taking a 
spread-eagle position and by wearing 
floppy clothes, they can slow down to 
under 100 mph, 

Wind drag can be cut in several ways, 
almost all of which are used by the partici- 
pants in the Human Powered Speed 
Championships, The most obvious way is 
to lower the frontal area facing the wind. 
Bicycle riders, speed skaters, and skiers 
all use this technique; They bend over in a 
crouched position. In cycling it is possible 
to reduce the frontal area even more drasti- 
cally by pedaling a specially designed ve- 
hicle while in the prone or supine position. 
Besides presenting less frontal area, the 
reclining position is also more streamlined, 
thus cutting wind resistance even further. 

Another obvious way to lower wind fric- 
tion is to smooth the flow surfaces. Cyclists, 
skiers, and speed skaters wear skintight 
costumes that are as smooth as silk. And 
high-speed aircraft have polished surfaces 
with no protrusions to ruffle the wind. The 
most effective of all methods, however, is 
streamlining. The key to building high- 
speed land vehicles is to avoid wasting 
energy by stirring up the air in turbulent 
mixing; air should be left as nearly undis- 
turbed as possible. This is the function of 
streamlining, and also the reason for the 
strangely shaped fairings in the Speed 

An ordinary bicycle rider has a very poor 
aerodynamic shape, like the hand facing 
the wind, and almost any device that helps 
smooth the airflow around the cyclist will 
help. Some devices are simple front 
windshields; others are based on exotic 
wing shapes that have been wind-tunnel- 
tested and that completely enclose the rid- 
.ers and machines until nothing is visible. 
not even the wheels. The simple front fair- 
ings may be mounted quickly on an ordi- 
nary bicycle, and they are now commer- 
cially available. They are very popular with 
winter cyclists because they decrease the 
wind-chill factor enormously They also re- 
duce the overall drag by 12 to 35 percent, 
depending upon the type. The more elabo- 
rate full fairings cut the overall resistance 
by almost 70 percent. Thus, higher speeds 
are possible. Speed increases from 10 to 15 
mph are common when streamlining is 
used. Vehicles can now be built that the 
average person in good health could pedal 
for an hour or more at 25 mph on level 
ground with no wind. This has been clearly 
proved at the Speed Championships. Rid- 
ers over fifty years old have exceeded 40 
mph, and Ed "Foxy Grandpa" Delano, of 
California, seventy-two years old. went 34 

mph in 1977. 


How did all this begin? In 1974 mechan- 
ical engineering students Claude Crawford 
and Doran Nadeau, collaborating with me, 
set out to measure the rolling resistance of 
various types of bicycle tires. We did this by 

""-« cng. enclosed vehicle at top (No. 55) was pedaled to a top speed of 50. 72 miles per hour by Two 
Hfcfs— the front rider in prone position, the rear rider supine. Aeroshell No. 2 vehicle at left was 
fiom fed by a single rider to a speed of 48.21 mph. Cyclist suspended by a small beltlike strap lies on 
txr--ach and pedals with both his feet and hands. Braking and steering of four-wheel vehicle is also 
«y-s with hands. Above. A look inside one Speed Championship entry with its side lairing removed 

coasting the bicycles through a series of 
timing switches in a Vs -mile -long hallway at 
California State University Long Beach. 
This was a rather exciting procedure, flying 
down the hallway sometimes at more than 
25 mph. heading for a glass door at the 
end. It was even more exciting when a 
janitor walked out in front of me and I 
crashed into a water cooler, escaping in- 
jury but wrecking the bicycle. Sometimes 
my wife and I spent till past midnight 
scrubbing skid marks off the floor left by 
panic-stricken bike riders. 

The rate at which a bicycle slows down 
when coasting is proportional to the drag 
forces against it. By our tests we were able 
to show that, as expected, an expensive 
high-pressure silk racing tire gave about a 
half pound less rolling resistance than a 
standard touring tire. But our tests really 
showed us that tire friction was a minor 
problem compared to wind drag. 

So we started thinking, they streamline 
airplanes, automobiles, and motorcycles; 
why don't they streamline a bicycle? We 
decided to build one. About this time 
Nadeau and Crawford graduated and 
began to work on more practical things. So 
my wife and I built a streamlined shell of 
aluminum tubing covered with heat-shrunk 
Dacron fabric, and we tested it in the hall- 
way. The results were astounding: The wind 
resistance was almost too low to measure 
at the speeds we were traveling at. By 
sheer coincidence, I then met Jack Lam- 
bie, an aerodynamics consultant who was 
building a streamlined bicycle at the same 
time as I was. Jack resurrected the sport of 
hang gliding in the United States. It was he 
who flew the reproductions of the Wright 
brothers' aircraft on a 1978 television spe- 
cial. He convinced me that we should try to 
see how fast our bicycles would go. 

Unfortunately, we had overlooked some 
things. A healthy side wind would knock 
our streamliners flat, and they tended to 
suck up dirt, leaves, and trash like a vac- 
uum cleaner, making it almost impossible 
for the rider to breathe. The machines also 
tended to develop a frightening wobble. By 
the time we got around to trying them for 
speed, Lambie's streamliner had crashed 
several limes, and it looked like a crumpled 
paper bag; this didn't contribute to its 
aerodynamic efficiency. I had been a little 
more cautious with mine, and it had not 
crashed yet. One by one, we managed to 
solve the major problems, and on Novem-' 
ber 1 1 , 1974, my machine was clocked over 
a distance of one mile at 40,12 mph, ridden 
by Ron Skarin, a U.S. Olympic cyclist. 
breaking the existing world record for a 
standard racing bicycle by almost 10 mph 
and attracting quite a lot of attention in the 

Lambie and I then decided to hold a race 
for all comers, which was optimistically 
titled the International Human Powered 
Speed Championships. This title was the 
creation of Lambie's boss, Dr. Paul Mac- 
Cready. who later won the Kremer Prize for 
his human-powered aircraft, the Gossamer 


Condor. (See "Man-Powered Flight." by 
Scot Morris, in the December 1978 Omni, 
page 92.) Dr. MacCready was the official 
timer at our first race and is the current 
president of our association. 


On rather short notice 14 of the strangest 
vehicles ever assembled in one place 
showed up at an automobile drag strip at 
Irwindale, California, on April 5, 1975. Some 
of the people were easily as unusual as 
their vehicles. One of them had a glorious 
pirate's beard, wore a jump suit, and intro- 
duced himself as Victor Vincente of 
America. (I never did find out exactly where 
■he was from,) His machine was called the 
Tachy Taxi, which is Greek for "speedy" 
(obviously he was no illiterate). He pedaled 
on his back, using hand and foot cranks 
attached to an enormous gear. The rear 
wheels were steered by leaning, as on a 
skateboard. Like most of the vehicles, it 
had been finished about the day before the 
race, and it still had a few bugs. Vincente 
couldn't see where he was going and rode 
off the course at over 40 mph, rolling over 
several times. Somehow Victor was pried 
out of the crumpled framework, shaken but 
unhurt. This was the end of the Tachy Taxi 
and Victor Vincente's participation in the 
Speed Championships. 

However, most of the original entrants are 
still around, along with the 60 or so present 
competitors. Phil Norton, a psychology 
teacher from Claremont, California, won the 
first race in a streamlined tandem at 44.87 
mph, His original machine looked like a 
flying greenhouse. Last year he entered a 
specially built reclining tandem, which be- 
came the second vehicle in history to ex- 
ceed 50 mph. 


Allan Abbott, a young M.D. from Idle- 
wood, California, won the second race at 
47.8 mph with a prone streamlined bicycle 
straight out of science fiction. He pedaled 
the device lying on his stomach while sus- 
pended from the frame like the pod of a jet 
aircraft, his nose only inches from the flying 
pavement. His knees were suspended by 
springs, and he straddled the rear wheel to 
reach the cranks. Abbott once got a traffic 
ticket from a startled policeman for riding 
the bare bicycle on a country road. To cite 
just one of his violations of the California 
Vehicle Code, Abbott didn't have a rear tail 
reflector. He no longer competes, but in 
1977 he offered a $3,000 prize to anyone 
who could break the national speed limit of 
55 mph in a human-powered vehicle. At the 
time it seemed unlikely that the prize would 
be won in a hurry. However, technology 
does advance in quantum jumps, and even 
60 mph is possible with the present genera- 
tion of vehicles. Paradoxically, the Califor- 
nia Highway Patrol has offered to give a 
commemorative traffic ticket to the winner 
of the Abbott Prize. The Highway Patrol 
should also refund the $10 fine Abbott paid 
on the reflector violation. 

100 OMNI 


This isn't the first time people have been 
interested in unusual bicycles. In 1914 the 
Germans built and raced streamlined 
bicycles, and such vehicles still appeared 
occasionally in Europe up until about 1958. 
Reclining bicycles have been built and 
tested on numerous occasions. The„bicy- 
cle in its modern form has existed basically 
unchanged for over 100 years. A cyclist 
from the 1890s brought into the present day 
would recognize virtually everything on a 
modern bicycle. Why have so few changes 
taken place? One powerful influence has 
been bicycle racing, in Europe an enor- 
mously popular sport. The rules have 
rigidly excluded anything but a standard 
racing bicycle from competition. Another 
influence has been industry's resistance to 
design changes. 

In the 1950s Alex Moulton, of England, 
developed a quite different compact bicy- 
cle that could easily be put into the trunk of 

6 It would take 
three horsepower to drive a 

standard bicycle 
at 55 miles per hour. White 

Lightning was 
clocked at 54.43 mph, with a 

total power input 
of less than 1.5 horsepower. 9 

a car. It had 18-inch wheels, a shock ab- 
sorber in the frame, and other innovative 
changes. After producing several thou- 
sands of the bicycles and demonstrating 
their marketability, he sold his company to 
Raleigh, the world's biggest bicycle manu- 
facturer, with a provision that Moulton could 
not produce the bicycle independently. 
Soon afterward Raleigh ceased manufac- 
turing the bicycle in an action that might be 
interpreted as stifling change. 

In the United States one of the more en- 
during innovations is the kids' motocross 
bicycle, which can be used to do tricks, 
such as pulling wheelies and jumping 
curbs. This has little importance, however, 
as a transportation vehicle for the general 

Probably the main reason for this stagna- 
tion in human-powered transportation is 
public disinterest. Although vehicles that 
will travel continuously at 25 mph are now 
possible and even practical, they would 
have very little appeal to most people al this 
time. People in the Western nations have a 
nearly absolute dependence upon the au- 
tomobile for transportation. Based on cur- 
rent 'trends, most forecasters will admit that 

the automobile is the vehicle of the future, if 
energy supplies remain freely available. 
Automobiles are convenient, comfortable, 
and fast, and many are reasonably priced. 
But this won't always be so. 

Since the coming of the machine age, 
animal and human pawer have nearly dis- 
appeared as important energy sources in 
the Western world. But this trend may re- 
verse itself. With future energy or material 
shortages, human or animal power may do 
some of the work presently being done by 
motorized machines. With advanced tech- 
nology, this may be more probable than it 
sounds at first— especially in the field of 
commuter transportation. 

Wth training, almost any adult in good 
health, even into his late sixties, can 
produce Vt mechanical horsepower as 
measured on a bicycle dynamometer (er- 
gometer). This power output will carry pe- 
destrians at a speed of 5 mph, which is a 
very fast walk or a slow jog. In a racing 
single scull a rower could travel 8 mph with 
the same power. With Dr. MacCready's 
man-powered aircraft, the speed would be 
about 10 mph, while a standard bicycle 
with the rider in racing position could travel 
19 mph. If the bicycle were streamlined, as 
in the Speed Championships, the speed 
would increase to almost 30 mph with the 
same !4 horsepower This translates into an 
equivalent fuel consumption of several 
thousand miles per gallon. 

supert rike 

Using a specially designed human- 
powered vehicle, a person could commute 
to work one way 12 to 15 miles in only one 
hour a day of travel time, if the roads were 
fairly level, What would such a machine 
ideally look like'' it is unfortunate that most 
of the cycles built for the Speed Champion- 
ships are impractical for street use. Never- 
theless, they embody improvements that 
can be used with modification. 

The vehicle would probably be a tricycle 
with two wheels forward that steer and one 
drive wheel in the rear. This configuration is 
very stable and simple to manufacture. A 
total weight of less than 40 pounds is im- 
portant for rapid acceleration and for going 
up hills. 

Most likely it would transport only a single 
passenger with enough room for some 
packages or a briefcase. Over 70 percent 
of all urban automobile trips are taken with 
only one passenger, and a single cyclist 
would not tolerate the added weight of a 
two-passenger vehicle. Careful streamlin- 
ing would be necessary for efficiency and 
stability in buffeting crosswinds. The en- 
closure would protect the rider from rain 
and cold; sufficient ventilation would have 
to be provided for proper cooling. The 
streamlined shell would also protect the 
rider from injury in most accidents except 
direct collisions. In the Speed Champion- 
ships several competitors have rolled over 
in excess of 40 mph without the slightest 

Sufticient gear changes would be re- 

OONIINiJLDON -*iiE lit' 

. and I have a strong suspicion that the murderer is right here in this room . " 



Who would believe that the 
rocks not only moved 
but had a goal in mind? 


' hen old Kirby Neson 
came into town that first 
time and told everybody 
who would listen that rocks — 
boulders — were moving around on 
their own out in the scrub, nobody, of 
course, believed a word of it. 
Everybody knew Kirby was a little 
funny in the head. But, as it turned 
out, it wasn't long before the whole 
town was talking about those 
moving rocks. 

That first day, though, Kirby 
couldn't even get anybody into his 
old pickup to take out to where he 
said— bragging about it— they were 
moving. He was proud of those 
moving rocks, as if they'd done 
something he knew they were going 
to do all along — not that he'd 
actually seen them move. He was 
very careful to say that he'd only 
seen that they had moved from one 
place to another, as if we'd be more 
apt to believe that. More than once it 
had happened, he claimed. He said 
he could tell they'd changed 
positions because he'd marked 
some of the rocks with a chalk and 
then walked off the distance to 
where he'd driven a stick in the 
ground. When he checked the rocks 
a few days afterward, they'd moved. 
He showed how he'd done it, once 
he finally got Burt Kolodzie and Fred 
Knotts out there after they'd got tired 
of listening to him every time he 
came into town. Kirby knew that if 
Burt and Fred said those rocks were 
moving, everybody, by God, would 
know they were, 

Problem with Burt and Fred, 



It's not 
too late 
to buy 
back some 
of the 


pnmH pnnruii 


Limited supplies of 
issues are still available at 
$2.75 each including postage 
and handling. List the issues 
you've missed and need, 
enclose your check or money 
order along with your name 
and address and mail to OMNI 
Back Issues, RO. Box 1805, FD.R. 
Station, New York, N.Y 10022. 
We'll rush you the 
magazines of tomorrow that 
were on sale yesterday. 

though, that first time, was that they'd never 
seen where the rocks had been before, and 
so there was no way they could really tell it 
they'd moved. They saw the chalk marks 
that Kirby had put on them, and they saw 
how flat everything was all around, like ev- 
erybody knew would be the case in this 
part of Texas (there wasn't any hill for the 
rocks to roll down, that is), and they saw of 
course how big the rocks were, each of 
them weighing at least a few hundred 
pounds. But what they couldn't see were 
any tracks to show the rocks had moved, 
which wasn't unusual, though, seeing as 
how the wind was almost forever blowing 
out where they were and would have cov- 
ered up any tracks. Besides that, it had 
rained the day before, this being the rainy 

Kirby finally convinced Burt and Fred, 
though, to do their own marking with the 
chalk— writing their initials on the rocks — 
and walking off the distance to the stick 
he'd put in the ground. He had them dig 
their own design around the stick so that he 
couldn't be accused of moving it on them. 
Then he said he'd bring them on back to 
the place the next time the rocks changed 
positions. They did all this and said they'd 
come back, maybe to humor him, maybe 
not. Maybe because they were just curious. 
Because, funny or not, old Kirby could be 
very convincing when he was talking about 
his "communing with Nature," as he calls it. 
And it turned out, so Burt and Fred said, 
that old Kirby thought the rocks were mov- 
ing because Nature was fed up with being 
tampered with by men and their atom 
bomb and going to the moon and all that, 
and that she was showing her anger by 
"flexing her rocky muscles," as he put it. 
secretly amazed at his own wit. 

Of course, in a way, whether the rocks 
were moving or not was secondary to the 
fact that the rocks were there in the first 
place, which was actually the biggest part 
of Burt's and Fred's being curious— at first, 
anyway Ordinarily in this part of the country 
you didn't see rocks the size of Kirby's. You 
might see one once in a while, but not a 
dozen or so grouped together. All you'd see 
were mesquite and cactus and maybe 
some scrubby oaks, and some little 
patches of scrawny grass in January and 
February when it rained, and with the wind 
blowing the way it does in these parts, noth- 
ing stayed still unless it was tied down, not 
that the wind could move rocks big as Kir- 
by's, of course. 

Anyway, Burt and Fred promised to go 
back to the place — it was about thirty or so 
miles out of town, in the middle of 
nowhere— the next time Kirby told them the 
rocks had moved. Kirby lived someplace 
out there; he wouldn't say exactly where his 
shack was. He didn't want any visitors in- 
terfering with his communing with Lady Na- 

Well, in a couple days or so, sure enough, 
old Kirby came into town and told the two of 
them that the rocks had moved again, and 
out there Burt and Fred went, along with 

some others, and, as Burt was to say, the 
rocks he'd marked had sure enough 
moved— one of them, in fact, about two 
hundred feet, and it must have weighed 
close to tive hundred pounds. And this time 
he and Fred could see the tracks the boul- 
ders had made because Ihere had been a 
rain so heavy, beforeJhe rocks had moved. 
that the wind hadn'l had time to dry the land 
enough to blow away the tracks— any 
tracks. Tire tracks of Kirby's rock-pushing 
pickup, say. Or (racks of a bunch of practi- 
cal jokers doing the pushing. Because, you 
see, there wasn't a rock small enough that 
Kirby could have pushed by himself, by 
hand; in fact, as old and scrawny as Kirby 
was, he could hardly push a marble, not 
that he wasn't tough. He was about ninety 
pounds of meanness, getting meaner the 
older he got. ... In other words, the only 
tracks there were those left by rolling rocks. 
There were about a dozen of them, all 
weighing into the hundreds of pounds, and 
they had all moved. 

Well, now, when Burt and Fred got back 
to town and told it around that rocks were 
moving on their own out there, it got a dif- 
ferent reaction from old Kirby's telling it, you 
can bet. Besides looking respectable, both 
of them were, and they weren't a couple of 
kids, either. People believed them, and 
most everybody wanted to see for them- 
selves, but by then it was too late in the day 
for rock watching. 

That evening Kirby came on into town. 
proud as a scrubby peacock, but when he 
heard how most everybody was planning to 
go out and see his moving rocks in the 
morning, he got mad. "Leave them rocks 
alone!" he said, and kept saying. "Some- 
body's gonna get hurt out there if you 

Some, making light of it, asked him if he 
thought the rocks would jump on them. He 
got madder at that. "If you don't want no- 
body there, why'd you tell us about it?" Sue 
Weibacher asked him. (She's been the 
postmistress ever since her husband died 
three years ago of gout.) 

"Because I didn't know then what I know 
now!" Kirby said, getting even madder. 
"What's that?" 

But Kirby wasn't saying. He jumped into 
his battered pickup and bounced out of 
town in the direction of the rocks. 

It wasn't long before Ed Furrow, who runs 
a weekly paper over in Gilroy came nosing 
around, asking Burt and Fred a lot of ques- 
tions and trying to find Kirby in town. Kirby 
wasn't to be found, though. So Ed and Burt 
and Fred and a bunch of others, including 
me. went on out to the moving-rocks place. 
Ed took some pictures, but it was plain that 
he, not knowing Fred and Burt the way we 
did and being of a suspicious nature any- 
way, didn't believe that the rocks had 
moved by themselves. He wanted to talk to 
Kirby, but Kirby wasn't lo be seen there, 
either, and, of course, like I say nobody 
knew where his shack was. 
So the next issue of Ed's paper had a 

front-page picture story about "Moving 
Rocks Puzzte Progreso," which is the name 
of our town, not that there's any progress 
going on. in my opinion. All of it was written 
up in a tongue-in-cheek way, and that was 
how it was treated, too, a day or so later in 
the Houston paper, which had sent a re- 
porter and photographer to the place after 
they read the story in Ed's paper I guess. 
That, in turn, led to a geologist driving out 
from the space center there in a few days, 
and it was raining to beat hell. This was all 
happening jusi after we'd started bringing 
rocks back from Mars, and so there were 
some geologists at the center, 

The geologist didn't believe it, either, as 
you might imagine— at first, anyway. But he 
did decide to do his own tests. He made his 
own markings on the rocks— chipped the 
boulders — and measured their distance 
from each other and then took some pic- 
tures of them to set their location, too. He 
estimated their weights with some measur- 
ing gadget he had and then said they were 
all too heavy to be moved by human hand 
unless you used some big mechanical 
mover, which would give itself away by tear- 
ing up the land. 

About a week passed before he came 
back, and maybe we wouldn't have known 
it if he hadh't stopped in town en route from 
Houston and asked Fred to show him the 
place. He didn't think he could find it him- 
self. When he and Fred and some others 
got there, including me, you could tell right 

away that the rocks had moved even if there 
weren't any tracks to see— some of them 
hundreds of feet, And somebody, most 
likely Kirby, everybody thought, had tried to 
cover up the chipped-out markings the 
geologist had made by slapping some ce- 
ment on the scars. Kirby still wasn't to be 
seen, though. Nobody had seen him, in 
fact, since the day he'd shown Burt and 
Fred the rocks, which wasn't unusual, con- 
sidering his ornery ways. 

Well, this geologist measured the dis- 
tance the rocks had moved and looked at a 
book and some charts and did some calcu- 
lations and used more gadgets. When he 
had finished, he told us that the wind was 
moving the rocks. "Winds funnel through 
here pretty strong," he said after saying 
that the rocks were actually in a dry lake 
bed so shallow you'd never know it. We had 
realized, though, that the soil was sandier 
and harder here than most soil in the area. 
"When the surface gets wet from rain, the 
ground gets extremely slick, and when 
conditions are just right, movement oc- 
curs," he said. 

Well, some believed him and some 
didn't, and, as you'd expect, among those 
who didn't was Kirby 

Just as everybody was getting into cars 
and trucks to go back to town, Kirby came 
gunning up in his beat-up pickup. He 
jumped out of it before it had hardly 
stopped and started yelling and cussing 
and screaming soon as he saw the blue 

NASA sign on the side of the geologist's 
brand-new white truck. 

"Get the goddamn hell out of here!" he 
yelled at the man from Houston. "You bas- 
tards can tear up the moen and Mars and 
bring Nature's rocks back here where they 
ain't supposed to be, but you leave these 
earth rocks alone!" 

"But, sir," the geologist said, turning 
nearly as white as his truck, "we haven't 
bothered these rocks. We haven't moved 
them an inch. Wind and rain have done it." 

"Wind and rain!" old Kirby roared. "Wind 
and rain! Nature is doing it!" He was point- 
ing into the sky. "Nature! God!" 

I believe it Kirby had had a gun. he would 
have shot the man right there. As it was. he 
suddenly ran toward his truck, and every- 
body got out of there fast. When we looked 
back, he sure enough had his old rifle in 
his hand, 

Fred and 1 and some others made trips 
Out' to the area in the coming days, regard- 
less of Kirby; we didn't think the old buz- 
zard would shoot us. We never saw him, as 
it turned out. But we did see that the rocks 
moved most every time it rained (we were 
still in the rainy season) as long as the wind 
was blowing hard, just like the geologist 
had said, 

And they always moved in the same di- 
rection the wind was blowing. Still it was 
hard for us to believe that wind and rain 
were moving those god-awful big rocks. 
But, unlike Kirby we never thought God 

"What's gonna happen to us inchworms when the metric system comes in?" 

was doing it 

We began to wonder, though, as time 
passed. First of all, we went out there once 
and saw that the rocks had moved a lot 
more than they ever had before. Although 
there was a wind, it wasn't a particularly 
strong wind. It had rained just before, 
though. This happened more than once. 
More and more we'd go out there and dis- 
cover that the boulders had moved one 
helluva distance with hardly any wind. Fi- 
nally one time one of them moved about a 
quarter of a mile and there'd been no rain 
for at least a week and the wind hadn't 
amounted to a damn thing. And this was 
the biggest rock— a monster, big enough 
to knock down a house. You knew that rock 
really had to be moving to cover all that 
distance in such a short time, and I say 
short time because it just so happened that 
I saw the movement the boulders had 
made on consecutive days because I hap- 
pened to be passing by the place both 
days, and I'd driven off the road to the site 
both times. 

Also, it seemed that the rocks— all of 
them— were getting bigger. Of course, I 
thought this was my eyes or imagination. 
But when I got Burt and Fred to go out there 
with me in a few days, they thought the 
same thing, but, like me, they couldn't be- 
lieve it. 

Another thing: There were more rocks 
moving now. We were positive of that be- 
cause one of the first things we'd done was 

to count the rocks that were moving. There 
were fourteen of them to begin with. Now 
there were twenty-three. The extra ones 
had jus) appeared out of nowhere, it looked 

Then the strangest thing of all happened. 
We went out there one day after it'd been 
dry for a long time— we were getting into 
March now. The rocks— there were now 
thirty-seven — h'ad all moved at least 
three quarters of a mile; we were sore of 
that because there had been — and 
was— such a small amount of wind that the 
tracks weren't blown over by sand, espe- 
cially those made by the big rocks, and 
they were all big now. The tracks were so 
deep that there didn't have to be any rain- 
softened ground to show them up. Big, 
deep grooves! 

But what I'm getting at is this: All the 
rocks had changed direction. They were 
now going in just about the opposite way 
they had been for months— against the 
wind now 

When we phoned the geologist at the 
space center, he said he'd meet us at the 
site the following day. 

When we went out there the next day to 
meet the man, the rocks were gone. Not a 
single one anywhere. They hadn't been 
gone long, though, because we could still 
see their tracks leading off in the dry soil, 
and there was a very stiff wind that day. The 
rocks were heading right into it. 

We got in Burt's four-wheel-drive and 
started after them. We figured the boulders 
had gone maybe just out of our sight, and 
that the man from Houston would find us 
and the rocks easily enough by following 
the tracks. 

Well, we drove and drove without seeing 
any rocks, and Burt started giving the truck 
more gas until we were going along at a 
good clip, just about being bounced to the 
roof because, of course, we weren't follow- 
ing any road. It was all desolation for miles 
and miles, all the way into Progreso and 
beyond. A good ten or fifteen minutes 
passed, and we still didn't see the boul- 
ders. We saw more rock tracks, though, A 
lof more. New ones came in from either 
side. Then we began to hear a strange 
sound at about the same time we saw what 
appeared to be a cloud of dust ahead. As 
the size of the cloud grew, the sound began 
getting louder— a rumbling, a crashing. 
The ground began to shake. 

In less than a minute we saw them, or at 
least the tail end of them. After Burt gave 
the truck even more gas, we could see 
more of the dozens of boulders making up 
the rear end of the rolling mass, and al- 
though we were now traveling at about forty 
miles an hour, we were just barely gaining 
on them— hundreds of boulders, maybe 
thousands, with more coming from either 
side all the time, all monsters, all heading in 
the same direction, as the crow flies, 
straight toward Progreso! 

Burt, who was driving, must have 
thought the same thing I did at the same 
time, because as I yelled, "Let's get on the 
road!" he had already started to whip the 
pickup to the left toward the road into Pro- 
greso, the idea being that we might reach 
town before the boulders did and give a 
warning. But even before we were halfway 
to the road, we could see that the rocks 
were over the highway and beyond as far as 
we could see. 

And then a horrible thought made me 
look to the far left and then behind us, and I 
saw hundreds more of the huge monsters 
bearing down on us, huge, aiming right for 
us. Pointing at them, I screamed for Burt to 
turn right and speed up. 

He did. But now the rocks ahead of us 
were rolling faster, leaving us, while the 
ones behind were gaining. In minutes we 
would be crushed flatter than a couple of 

Then, as if on command, the direction of 
the boulders changed, both those in front of 
us and those behind. They began to split — 
some to the right, some to the left. And I 
realized what was happening. They were 
going around Progreso, and in the process, 
as far as I could guess, they would miss us. 
The town was saved because the rocks had a 
different purpose in mind. 

On the far side of Progreso, though, they 
converged (we would learn), and without 
ever changing direction again they headed 
directly, ever faster and growing more mon- 
strous at every mile, toward the space cen- 
ter in Houston. DO 


Gerald Wasserburg. is the expert on 

moon rocks. He currently teaches at the 
California Institute of Technology, where 
he analyzes moon racks for clues to the 
origin of the solar system. Contributing 
editor Bill Stuckey recently spoke with 

Omni: You've complained that many of 
the moon racks stored at the Johnson 
Space Center in Houston have spoiled 
because of improper preservation. Is 
anything being done about this 7 
Wasserburg: Well. Congress has finally 
allocated funds for a new storage build- 
ing. It's almost finished now. And the 
remote storage facility will soon be in 
reasonable shape. The only trouble is 
that [Senator William] Proxmi re has had 
his will by cutting out any money for 
scientific work on the rocks. 
Omni: How many of the moon rocks are 
still uncontaminated? 
Wasserburg; All of them are contami- 
nated to various degrees. But I would 
say that fifty to seventy percent of the 
rocks are still in reasonable shape. 
Omni: You once told me that one moon- 
rock study group had found evidence 
there had been water on the moon, 
when what they really found was that, 
because of improper storage, there was 
water [on the rocks] in Houston. Are all 
(he rocks water-contaminated? 
Wasserburg: That's still a very serious 
problem and difficult lo beat. From thirty 
to fifty percent of the rocks cannot be 
used for certain experiments. 
Omni: What are the real lessons we have 
learned from the moon rocks? 
Wasserburg: We have, for the first time in 
human history looked at another planet 
and have been able to discuss and as- 
sess what its early stages were like. We 
know nothing of the earth's geological 
history beyond 3.6 million years ago, 
since violent planetary processes have 
altered those rocks. 

With moon rocks going back to 3.9 
billion years, we can extrapolate some 
of the earth's geologic period during 
this three-hundred-million year "blank." 
The moon has provided the time-base- 
line, not erroneously we hope, for ail of 
the terrestrial planets [Venus, Mercury 
and Mars], That's given us a totally dif- 
ferent perspective in interpreting the 
history of all these planets. 

There are now studies of volcanic activ- 
ity on all of the terrestrial planets. There's 
no longer discussion about whether it 
took place — because of the moon rocks, 
we know it took place. Because Mercury 
has been found toshare many similarities 
with the moon, we can make accurate 
generalizations about it. Mars is'an enor- 
mous mystery. What thehell were all those 
rivers doing there? Every time you look 
at that "Grand Canyon," you say, Gee I 
whiz, you've got to do something. DO 

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dropped the glass, and flung her hands al 
her hair. 
Conversation stopped all over the house. 
She whirled on me, ready to achieve total 
fury at the slightest sign of a smile, and I 
debated giving her that release but de- 
cided she could not afford the energy it 
would cost her. "I'm truly, truly sorry," I said 
at once, "but a minute ago you weren't here 
and now you are, and that's the way 1 
wanted it." 

Callahan was there, his big knuckly hand 
resting light as lint on my shoulder. His ex- 
pression was mournful. "Prying, Jake? 

"That's up to her, Mike," 1 said, holding 
her eyes. 
"What you talkin' about?" she asked. 
"Lady," I said, "there's so much pain on 
your face I just have to ask you, How come? 
If you don't want to tell me, then I'm prying," 
She blinked. "And if you are?" 
"The little guy with a face like a foot who 
has by now tiptoed up behind me will brush 
his blackjack across my occiput, and I'll 
wake up tomorrow with the same kind of 
head you're gonna have. Right, Eddie?" 

"Dat's right, Jake," the piano man's voice 
came from just behind me. 

She shook her head dizzily, then looked 
around at friendly, attentive faces. "What 

the hell kind of place is this?" 

Usually we prefer to let newcomers figure 
that out for themselves, but I couldn't wait 
that I6ng. "This is Callahan's. Most joints 
the barkeep listens to your troubles, but we 
happen to love this one so much that we all 
share his load. This is the place you found 
because you needed to." I gave it every- 
thing 1 had. 

She looked around again, searching 
faces. I saw her look for the prurience of the 
accident spectator and not find it; then I 
saw her look again for compassion and find 
it. She turned back to me and looked me 
over carefully. I tried to look gentle, trust- 
worthy understanding, wise, and strong. I 
wanted to be more than I was for her. "He's 
not prying, Eddie," she said at last. "Sure, 
I'll tell you people. You're not going to be- 
lieve it anyway Innkeeper, gimme coffee, 
light and sweet." 

She picked somebody's empty from the 
bar, got down unsteadily from her chair, and 
walked with great care to the chalk line. 
"You people like toasts? I'll give you a toast. 
To fivesight." she said, and whipped her 
glass so hard she nearly fell. It smashed in 
the geometrical center of the fireplace, and 
residual alcohol made the flames ripple 
through the spectrum. 

I made a little gasping sound. 

By the time she had regained her bal- 
ance, young Tommy was straightening up 
from the chair he had placed behind her, 
brushing his hair back over his shoulders. 

She sat gratefully, We formed a ragged 
half-circle in front of her, and Shorty Steinitz 
brought her the coffee. I sat at her feet and 
studied her as she sipped it. Her face was 
still not pretty, but now that the lights were 
back on in it, you could see that she was 
beautiful, and I'll take that any day. Go 
chase a pretty one an.d see what it gets you. 
The coffee seemed to help steady her. 

"It starts out prosaic," she began. "Three 
years ago my first husband, Freddie, took 
off with a sculptress named, God help us, 
Kitten, leaving me with empty savings and 
checking, a mortgage I couldn't cut, and a 
seven-year-old son. Freddie was the life of 
the party. Lily of the valley. So I got myself a 
job on a specialist newspaper. Little busi- 
nessmen's daily, average subscriber's 
median income fifty kay. The front-page 
story always happened to be about the firm 
that had bought the most ad space that 
week. Got the picture? 1 did a weekly Lei- 
sure Supplement, ten pages every Thurs- 
day, with a ... you don't care about this 
crap. I don't care about this crap. 

"So one day I'm sitting at my little steel 
desk. This place is a reconverted ware- 
house, one immense office, and the edito- 
rial department is six desks pushed to- 
gether in the back, near the paste-up ta- 
bles and the library and the wire. Every- 
body else is gone to lunch, and I'm just 
gonna leave myself when this guy from ac- 
counting comes over. I couldn't remember 
his name; he was one of those grim, stolid, 
fatalistic guys that accounting depart- 
ments run to. He hands me two envelopes. 
This is for you,' he says, 'and this one's for > 
Tom.' Tom was the hippie who put out the 
weekly Real Estate Supplement. So I start 
to open mine— it feels like there's candy in 
it— and he gives me this look and says, 'Oh 
no, not now.' I look at him like huh? and he 
says, 'Not until it's time. You'll know when,' 
and he leaves. Okay, I say to myself, and I 
put both envelopes in a drawer, and I go to 
lunch and forget it. 

'About three o'clock I wrap up my work, 
and I get to thinking about how strange his 
face looked when he gave me those en- 
velopes. So I take out mine and open it. 
Inside it are two very big downs— you know, 
powerful tranquilizers. 1 sit up straight. I 
open Tom's envelope, and if I hadn't worked 
in a drugstore once, I never would have 
recognized it. Demerol. Synthetic mor- 
phine, one of the most addictive drugs in 
the world. 

"Now Tom is a hippie-looking guy, like I 
say, long hair and mustache, not long like 
yours, but long for a newspaper. So I figure 
this accounting guy is maybe his pusher 
and somehow he's got the idea I'm a poten- 
tial customer. I was kind of fidgety and 
tense in those days. So I get mad as hell, 
and I'm just thinking about taking Tom into 
the darkroom and chewing him out good, 
and I look up, and the guy from accounting 
is staring at me from all the way across the 
room. No expression at all, he just looks. It 
gives me the heebie-jeebies. 
"Now, overhead is this gigantic air- 

conditioning unit, from ihe old warehouse 
days, that's supposed to cool the whole 
building and never does. What it does is 
drip water on editorial and make so much 
goddamn noise you can't talk on the phone 
while it's on. And what it does, right at that 
moment, is rip loose and drop straight 
down, maybe eight hundred pounds. It 
crushes all the desks in editorial, and it kills 
Mabel and Aft and Dolores and Phil and 
takes two toes off of Tom's right foot and 
misses me completely. A flying piece of 
wire snips off one of my ponytails. 

"Solsittherewithmymouthopen, and in 
the silence I hear the publisher say, 'God 
damn it,' from the middle of the room, and I 
climb over the wreckage and get the Dem- 
erol into Tom, and then I make a tourniquet 
on his arch out of rubber bands and blue 
pencils, and then everybody's taking me 
away and saying stupid things. I took those 
two tranquilizers and went home." 

She took a sip of her coffee and sat up a 
little straighten Her eyes were the color of 
sun-cured Hawaiian buds. "They shut the 
paper down for a week, The next day, when 
I woke up, I got out my employee directory 
and looked this guy up. While Bobby was in 
school, I went over to his house. It took me 
hours to break him down, but I wouldn't 
take no answer for an answer Finally he 
gave up. 

" 'I've got fivesight,' he told me. 'Some- 
thing just a little bit better than foresight.' It 
was the only joke I ever heard him make, 
then or since." 

I made the gasping sound again. "Pre- 
cognition," Doc Webster breathed. Awk- 
wardly, from my tailor's seat, I worked my 
keys out of my pocket and tossed them to 
Callahan. He caught them in the coffee can 
he had ready and started a shot of 
Bushmill's on its way to me without a word. 

"You know the expression 'Bad news 
travels fast'?" she asked. "For him it travels 
so fast it gets there before the event. About 
three hours before, more or less. But only 
bad news. Disasters, accidents, traumas 
large and small are all he ever sees." 

"That sounds ideal," Doc Webster said 
thoughtfully. "He doesn't have to lose the 
fun of pleasant surprises, but he doesn't 
have to worry about unpleasant ones. That 
sounds like the best way to ..." He shifted 
his immense bulk in his chair "Damn it. 
what is the verb for precognition? Precog- 

"Ain't they the guys that sang that 
'Jeremiah was a bullfrog' song?" Long- 
Drink murmured to Tommy, who kicked him 
hard in the shins. 

"That shows how much you know about 
it," she told the Doc. "He has three hours to 
worry about each unpleasant surprise— 
and there's a strickly limited amount he can 
do about it." 

The Doc opened his mouth and then shut 
it tight and let her tell it. A good doctor hates 
forming opinions in ignorance. 

"The first thing I asked him when he told 
me was why hadn't he warned Phil and 

Mabel and the others. And then I caught 
myself and said, 'What a dumb questionl 
How're you going to keep six people away 
from their desks without telling them why? 
Forget I asked that.' 

"'It's worse than that,' he told me. 'It's not 
that I'm trying to preserve some kind of 
secret identity— it's that it wouldn't do the 
slightest bit of good anyway I can amelio- 
rate— to Some extent. But I cannot prevent. 
No matter what. I'm not . . . not permitted.' 

" 'Permitted by who?' I asked. 

" 'By whoever or whatever sends me 
these damned premonitions in the first 
place,' he said. 'I haven't the faintest idea 

" 'What exactly are the limitations?' 

" 'If a pot of water is going to boil over and 
scald me, I can't just not make tea that 
night. Sooner or later I will make tea and 
scald myselt. The longer I put off the inevi- 
table, the worse I get burned. But if I accept 
if and let it happen in its natural time, I'm 
allowed to, say, have a pot of ice water 
handy to stick my hand in. When I saw that 
my neighbor's steering box was going to 
fail, I couldn't keep him from driving that 
day, but I could remind him to wear his 
seatbelt, and so his injuries were mini- 
mized. But if I'd seen him dying in that 
wreck, I couldn't have done anything— ex- 
cept arrange to be near the wife when she 
got the news. It's . , , it's especially bad to 
try to prevent a death. The results are . . .' I 
saw him start to say 'horrible' and reject it 

as not strong enough. He couldn't find any- 
thing strong enough. 

"'Okay Cass,' I said real quick. 'So at 
least you can help some. That's more than 
some doctors can do. I think that was really 
terrific of you, to bring me that stuff like that, 
lake a chance that I'd think you were — hey, 
how did you get hold of narcotics on three 
hours' notice?' 

" 'I had three hours' warning for the last 
big blackout,' he told me. 'I took two suit- 
cases of stuff out of Smithtown General 
while they were trying to get their emergen- 
cy generator going. I . . . have uses for the 
stuff.' " 

She looked down into her empty cup, 
then handed it to Eddie, who had it refilled. 
While he was gone, she stared at her lap, 
breathing with her whole torso, lungs cy- 
cling slowly from absolutely full to empty. 

"I was grateful to him. I felt sorry for him. I 
figured he needed somebody to help him. I 
figured after a manic-oppressive like Fred- 
die, a quiet, phlegmatic kind of guy might 
suit me better. His favorite expression was. 
'What's done is done.' I started dating him. 
One day Bobby fell . . . fell out of a tree and 
broke his leg, and Uncle Cass just hap- 
pened to be walking by with a hypo and 
splints." She looked up and around at us. 
and her eyes fastened on me. "Maybe I 
wanted my kid to be safe." She looked 
away again. "Make a long story short. I 
married him." 

I spilled a little Bushmill's down my 


wfltre line 



iqn iW V25.C 1184 Wl TV 




beard. No one seemed to notice. 

"It's . . . funny," she said slowly, and get- 
ling out that second word cost her a lot. "It's 
really damned funny. At first ... at first, 
there, he was really good for my nerves. He 
never got angry. Nothing rattled him. He 
never got emotional the way men do, never 
got the blues. It's not that he doesn't feel 
things. I thought so at first, but I was wrong. 
It's just that . . . living with a thing like that, 
either he could be irritable enough to bite 
people's heads off all the time, or he could 
learn how to hold it all in. That's what he did, 
probably back when he was a little kid. 
'What's done is done,' he'd say, and keep 
on going. He does need to be held and 
cared for, have his shoulders rubbed out 
after a bad one. have one person he can tell 
about it. I know I've been good for him, and 
I guess at first it made me feel kind of spe- 
cial. As if it took some kind of genius person 
to share pain." She closed her eyes and 
grimaced. "Oh, and Bobby came to love 
him so!" 
There was a silence. 
"Then the weirdness of it started to get to 
me. He'd put a Band-Aid in his pocket, and 
a couple of hours later he'd cut his finger 
chopping lettuce. I'd get diarrhea and run 
to the John, and there'd be my favorite 
magazine on the floor. I'd come downstairs 
at bedtime for vitamins and find every pot in 
the house full of water, and go back up to 
bed wondering what the hell, and wake up 
a little while later to find that a socket short 
had set the living room on fire before it 
tripped the breaker and he had it under 
control. I'd catch him concealing some little 
preparation from me, and know that it was 
for me or Bobby, and I'd carry on and beg 
him to tell me— and the best of those times 
were when all I could make him tell me was, 
'What's done is done.' 
"I started losing sleep and losing weight. 
"And then one day the principal called 
just before dinner to tell me thai a school 
bus had been hit by a tractor-trailer and 
fourteen students were critically injured 
and Bobby and another boy were ... I threw 
the telephone across the room at him, I 
jumped on him like a wild animal and 
punched him with my fists, I screamed and 
screamed. 'YOU DIDN'T EVEN TRY!'" she 
screamed again now, and it rang and rang 
in the stillness of Callahan's Place. I wanted 
to leap up and take her in my arms, let her 
sob it out against my chest, but something 
held me back. 

She pulled herself together and gulped 
cold coffee. You could hear the air con- 
ditioner sigh and the clock whir. You could 
not hear cloth rustle or a chair creak. When 
she spoke again, her voice was under rigid 
control. It made my heart sick to hear it. 

"I left him for a week. He must have been 
hurting more than / was. So I left him and 
stayed in a crummy motel, curled up 
around my own pain. He made all the ar- 
rangements, and made them hold off bury- 
ing Bobby until I came back, and when I 
did, all he said was . . . what I expected him 
to say. and we went on living. 

110 OMNI 

"I started drinking. I mean, I started in 
that motel and kept it up when I went home. 
I never had before. I drank alone. I dont 
know ifhe ever found out. He must have. He 
never said anything. I ... I just started grow- 
ing away from him. I knew it wasn't right or 
fair, but I just turned off to him completely 
He never said anything. All this started 
happening about six months ago. I just got 
more and more self-destructive, more 
crazy, more . . . hungry for something." 

She closed her eyes and straightened 
her shoulders. 

"Tonight is Cass's bowling night. This af- 
ternoon I ..." She opened her eyes. "... 1 
made a date with a stockboy at the 
Pathmark supermarket. I told him to come 
by around ten, when my husband was 
gone. After supper he got his ball and 
shoes ready, like always, and left. I started 
to clean up in the kitchen so I'd have time to 
get juiced before Wally showed up. Out of 
the corner of my eye I saw Cass tiptoe back 
into the living toom. He was carrying a big 

£And what it does . . . 

s . . . drop straight down, maybe 

eight hundred 

pounds. It crushes alt the 

desks in editorial, 

' and it kills Mabel and Art 

and Dolores and Phil . . . 

and misses me completely^ 

manila envelope and something else I 
couldn't see; the envelope was in the way. I 
pretended not to see him, and in a few 
seconds I heard the door close behind him. 

"I dried my hands. I went into the living 
room. On the mantel, by the bedroom door, 
was the envelope, tucked behind the 
flowerpot. Tucked behind it was his service 
revolver. I left it there and walked out the 
door and came here and started drinking, 
and now I've had enough of this fucking 
coffee. I want a screwdriver." 

Fast Eddie deserves his name. He was 
the first of us to snap out of the trance, and it 
probably didn't take him more than thirty 
seconds. He walked over to the bar on his 
banty little legs and slapped down a dollar 
and said, "Screwdriver, Mike." 

Callahan shook his head slightly. He 
drew on his cigar and frowned at it for hav- 
ing gone out. He flung it into the fireplace 
and built a screwdriver, and he never said a 
mumblin' word. Eddie brought her the 
drink. She drained half at once. 

Shorty Steinitz spoke up, and his voice 
sounded rusty "I service air-conditioning 
systems. The big ones. I was over at Cen- 
tury Lanes today. Their unit has an intermit- 

tent that I can't seem to trace. It keeps 
cuttin' in and out." 

She shut her eyes and did something 
similar to smiling and nodded her head. 
"That's it, all right. He'll be home early" 
Then she looked me square in the eye. 
"Well, Jake, do you understand now? I'm 
scared as hell! Because I'm here instead of 
there, and so he's notgoing to kill me after 
all. And he tells me that if you try to prevent 
a death, something worse happens, and 
I'm going out of my mind wondering what 
could be worse than getting killed!" 

Total horror flooded through me; 1 
thought my heart would stop. 

I knew what was worse than getting 

Dear Jesus, no, I thought, and I couldn't 
help it. I wanted very badly to keep my face 
absolutely straight and my eyes holding 
hers, and I couldn't help it. There was just 
that tiny hope, and so I glanced for the 
merest instant at the Counterclock and 
then back to her. And in that moment of 
moments, scared silly and three-quarters 
bagged, she was seeing me clearly 
enough to pick up on it and know from my 
face that something was wrong. 
It was 10:15. 

My heart was a stone. I knew the answers 
to the next questions, and again I couldn't 
help myself: I had to ask them. 

"Kathy Anders. What's the matter?" Just 
what I had asked her, a few centuries ago. 
"Kathy, you . . . you didn't lock the house 
behind you when you left?" 

Callahan went pale behind the bar, and , 
his new cigar fell out of his mouth. 
"No," she said. "What the hall has that—" 
'And you were too upset to think of—" 
"Oh, Christ," she screamed. "Oh, no, I 
never thought! Oh, Christ, Wally, that dumb 
cocky kid. He'll show up at ten and find the 
door wide open and figure I went to the 
corner for beer and decide it's cute to wait 
for me in bed, and—" She whirled and 
found the clock, and puzzled out the time 
somehow, and wailed, "No!" And I tore in 
half right down the middle. She sprang 
from her chair and lurched toward the bar. I 
could not get to my feet to follow her. Calla- 
han was already holding out the telephone, 
and when she couldn't dial it, he got the 
number out of her and dialed it for her. His 
face was carven from marble. I was just 
getting up on my hind legs by then. No one 
else moved. My feet made no sound at all 
on the sawdust. I could clearly hear the 
phone ringing on the other end. Once. 
Twice. Three times. "Come on, Cass, damn 
you, answer me!" Four times. Oh dear God, 
I thought, she still doesn't get it. Five times. 
Maybe she does get il — and won't have it. 
Six times. 

It was picked up on the seventh ring, and 
at once she was shrieking, "You killed him, 
youbasfard.Hewasjustajerkkid, and you 
had to— " 

She stopped and held the phone at arm's 
length and stared at it. It chittered at her, an 
agitated chipmunk. Her eyes went round. 

"Wally?" she asked it weakly. Then even 
more weakly she said to it, "That's his will in 
that manila envelope," and she fainted. 

"Mike!" I cried, and leaped forward. The 
big barkeep understood me somehow and 
lunged across the bar on his belly and 
caught the phone in both hands. That left 
me my whole attention to deal with her, and 
I needed that and all my strength to get her 
to Ihe floor gently. 

"Wally," Callahan was saying to the 
chipmunk, "Wally, listen to me. This is a 
friend. I know what happened, and— listen 
to me, Wally I'm trying to keep your ass out 
of the slam. Are you listening to me, son? 
Here's what you've got to do—" 

Someone crowded me on my left, and I 
almost belted him before I realized it was 
Doc Webster with smelling salts. 

" — No, screw fingerprints, this ain't TV 
Just make up the goddamn bed and put 
yer cigarette butts in yer pocket and don't 
toucn anything else—" 
She coughed and came around, 
"—sure nobody sees you leave, and then 
you get your ass over to Callahan's bar. off 
25A. We got thirty folks here'll swear you 
been here all night, but it'd be nice if we 
knew what you looked like." 

She stared up at us vacantly, and as I 
was helping her get up and into a chair, I 
was talking. I wanted her to be involved in 
listening to me when full awareness re- 
turned. It would be very hard to hold her, 
and I was absolutely certain I could do it. 
"Kathy, you've got to listen carefully to 
me, because if you don't, in just another 
minute now you're going to try and swallow 
one giant egg of guilt, and it will, believe 
me, stick in your throat and choke you. 
You're choking on a couple already, and 
this one might kill you— and it's not fair it's 
not right, it's not just. You're gonna award 
yourself a guilt that you don't deserve, and 
the moment you accept it and pin it on it'll 
stay with you for the rest of your life. Believe 
me, I know. Damn it, it's okay to be glad 
you're still alive 1 ." 

"What the hell do you know about it?" she 
cried out. 

"I've been there," I said softly. 'As re- 
cently as an hour ago." 
Her eyes widened. 

"I came in here tonight so egocentrically 
wrapped up in my own pain that 1 sat next to 
you for fifteen minutes and never noticed 
you, until some friends woke me up. This is 
a kind of anniversary for me, Kathy. Five 
years and one day ago I had a wife and a 
two-year-old daughter. And I had a Big 
Book olAuto Repair. I decided I could save 
thirty dollars easy by doing my own brake 
job. I tested it myself and drove maybe a 
whole block. Five years ago tonight all three 
of us went to the drive-in movie. I woke up 
without a scratch on me. Both dead. I 
smiled at the man who was trying to cut my 
door open, and I climbed out the window 
past him and tried to get my wrists on his 
chainsaw. He coldcocked me, and I woke 
up under restraint." I locked eyes with her. "I 
was glad to be alive, too. That's why I 

112 OMNI 

wanted to die so bad." 

She blinked and spoke very softly. "How 
. . . how did you keep alive?" 

"I got talking with a doctor the size of a 
hippo named Sam Webster, and he got me 
turned loose and brought me around here." 

She waited for me to finish. "You— that's 
it? What is that?" 

"Dis is Callahan's Place," Eddie said. 

"This place is magic," I told her. 

"Magic? B(j//shit, magic, it's a "bar. 
People come here to get blind." 

"No. Not this one. People come to this 
bar to see. That's why I'm ashamed at how 
long it took me to see you. This is the place 
where people care. For as long as I sat here 
in my pain, my friends were in pain with me 
and did what they could to help. They told 
stories of past blunders to make it a little 
easier for me to make my annual toast to my 
family without embarrassing myself. You 
know what gives me the courage to keep on 
living? The courage to love myself a little? 
It's having a whole bunch of friends who 

ZThere was just 
that tiny hope . . . And in 

that moment of 

moments, scared silly 

and three-quarters 

bagged, she was seeing me 

clearly enough to 
know something was wrong 3 

really give a Goddamn. When you share 
pain, there's less of it, and when you share 
joy, there's more of it. That's a basic fact of 
the universe, and I learned it here. I've seen 
it work honest-to-God miracles." 

"Name me a miracle." 

"Of all the gin joints in all the world, you 
come into this one. Tonight, of all the nights 
in the year. And you look like her, and your 
name is Kathy" 

She gaped. "I — your wife?— I look—?" 

"Oh, not a ringer— that only happens on 
The Late Late Show. But close enough to 
scare me silly Don't you see, Kathy? For 
five years now I've been using that word, 
iivesight. not in conversation, just in my 
head, as a private label for precognition. I 
lumped when you said it. For five years now 
I've been wishing to God I'd been born with 
it. I was wishing it earlier tonight. 

"Now I know better." 

Her jaw worked, but she made no sound. 

"We'll help you, Kathy." Callahan said. 

"Damn straight," Eddie croaked. 

"We'll help you find your own miracle," 
Long-Drink assured her. "They come by 
here regular." 

There were murmurs of agreement, en- 

couraging words. She stared around the 
place as though we had all turned into 
toads. "And what do you want from me?" 
she snapped. 

"That you hold up your end," I said. "That 
you not leave us holding the bag. Suicide 
isn't, just a cop-out; it's a rip-off-" 

She shook her heap!, as violently as she 
dared. "People don't do that; people don't 
act this way." 

My voice softened, saddened. "Upright 
apes don't, People do." 
She finished her drink. "But—" 
"Listen, we just contradicted something 
you said earlier. If seems like it does take 
some kind of genius person to share pain. 
And I think you did a better job than I could 
have done. Two, three years you stayed 
with that poor bastard? Kathy, that strength 
and compassion you gave to Cass for so 
long, the imagination and empathy you 
have so much of, those are things we badly 
need here. We get a lot of incoming 
wounded. You could be of use here, while 
you're waiting for your own miracle." 

She looked around at every face, looked 
long at Callahan and longest at me. 

Then she shook her head and said, 
"Maybe I already got it," and she burst fi- 
nally and explosively into tears, flinging 
herself into my arms. They were the right 
kind of tears. I smiled and smiled for some 
considerable time, and then I saw the clock 
and got very businesslike. Wally would be 
along soon, and there was much to be 
done. "Okay, Eddie, you get her address 
from her purse and ankle over there. Make 
sure that fool kid didn't screw up. Pyotr, you 
Litvak Samaritan, go on out and wake up 
yourwheels. Here, Drink, you get heroutto 
the parking lot; I can't hold her up much 
longer. Margie, you're the girl friend she 
went to spend the weekend with yesterday, 
okay? You're gonna put her up until she's 
ready to face the cops. Doc, you figure out 
what she's contracted that she doesn't 
want to bother her husband by calling. 
Shorty, if nobody discovers the body by 
say tomorrow noon, you make a service call 
to the wrong address and find him. Mike— " 

Callahan was already holding out one 
finger of Irish. 

"Say, Jake," Callahan said softly, "didn't I 
hear your wife's name was Diane? Kinda 
short and red-haired and jolly, gray eyes?" 

We smiled at each other "It was a plausi- 
ble miracle that didn't take a whole lot of 
buildup and explanation. What if I'd told her 
we stopped an alien from blowing up the 
earth in here once?" 

"You talk good on your feet, son." 

I walked up to the chalk line. "Let me 
make the toast now," I said loudly. "The 
same one I've made annually for five 
years— with a little addition." 

Folks hushed up and listened. 

"To my family," I said formally, then 
drained the Irish and gently underhanded 
my glass onto the hearth. 

And then I turned around and faced 
them all and added, "Each and every one 
of you." DO 


vJilV..: i.l l=IV.-;-N' PAuF .-■ 

thousands of Ions of satellites in high orbit. 
We'll need at least that to do a thorough job 
ot solving problems right here, to do remote 
sensing and monitoring of the Landsat 
type, to improve communications, air- 
traffic control — all the gathering and 
transmission of information that is clearly 
going to become an even more important 
part of our lives than it is already. 
Omni: What about solar-power satellites? A 
very large part of that irade deficit you men- 
tioned is going to be for oil. 
O'Neill: The solar-power satellite is an al- 
ternative energy option that deserves very 
serious study Two of the weak points that 
could prevent its being realized are lift 
costs for satellite components brought from 
Ihe earth and the environmental impact of 
heavy rocket traffic through the atmosphere. 
With lunar materials and a mass driver on 
the moon, that could change; it appears 
that you could get ninety percent of the 
mass for power satellites from the moon, 
while only the highly complex or precise 
parts need come up from Ihe earth, 
Omni: It was Peter Glaser who first sug- 
gested earth-launched solar-power satel- 
lites. The connection between them and 
your proposals didn't come until 1974, and 
you've concentrated on the lunar- materials 
route. Are you and he on opposite sides of 
that queslion? 
i O'Neill: Not really ... the differences are in 
emphasis. We both feel it's necessary both 
to look for weaknesses in the concept and 
to explore all practical ways around them. 
In view of the energy crisis, I'd say that 
power satellites are urgent if they are to be 
considered at all, but they represent only 
one of a number of energy options, not 
necessarily the most viable one. They and 
space habitats are not a package deal. You 
could say that space colonization is inevi- 
table but not urgent, while power satellites 
are urgent but not inevitable. Peter and I 
concentrate on different aspects of 
satellite-power research to make sure all 
the important alternatives are covered. 
We're both looking for a viable nonnuclear- 
energy option, 

Omni: Let's say that the technology and the 
economics and the politics all work out as 
you'd like: You have an industrial base on 
(he moon and in orbit; and you can man- 
ufacture space habitats of whatever size 
you settle on. What about the beautiful 
landscapes inside the habitats we've all 
seen depicted? Is our biological and 
ecological knowledge really up to creating 
and maintaining that? 
O'Neill: That's really two questions. First, 
there's the question of .agriculture. The 
Russians have already started that, with 
people in enclosed environments for six 
months or so, growing wheat, making 
bread. It's worked out well, and they've 
even done some experiments in space. 
They're building up to long-term occupa- 

tion of space, and they want to grow some 
food (here. It's as simple as that. 

The second part, the part involving land- 
scapes rather than utilitarian agriculture, 
brings up much larger issues. Some 
people feel, on philosophical grounds, that 
it would be good to create a closed envi- 
ronment that would maintain itself and be 
ecologically stable in all respects. They 
say— quite rightly— that we're nowhere 
near achieving that on Earth; so how can we 
hope to do it in space? Well, that's not what 
we hope to achieve. Remember, there are 
botanical gardens all over the world, where 
many different plant species thrive in a con- 
trolled environment— sometimes wilh des- 
ert and rain-forest plants just a few yards 
apart. You don't just turn it loose, you gar- 
den it , , . but it's not going to go by itself; it's 
nol going to be a closed, inherently stable 
ecosystem any more than a botanical gar- 
den is. Artists' conceptions of space- 
habitat landscapes do not represent a nat- 
ural climax forest, and they were never in- 
tended to. 

Omni: So the agriculture would be in 
greenhouse pods, while the landscape 
would be aesthetic, rather lhan practical, in 

O'Neill: Yes, in the same sense that our 
lawns and flower gardens are aesthetic in 
intent and for that reason are different from 
a farmer's fields. 

Omni: Now I'll be unfair and turn the ques- 
tion around one hundred eighty degrees. 

You have suggested that the environment 
in a space habitat could be as pleasant as 
that of an Italian hill town or, say, Carmel, 
California. But why settle for thai? Shouldn't 
space habitats provide new ways of life, 
new ways of organizing social space? Ob- 
viously, one of the most imporlanl factors in 
advancing your ideas has been your dem- 
onstration that the habitats could be like 
Earth, but if you're building a world from 
scratch, shouldn't the sky be the limit? 
O'Neill: I felt I had to do an "existence 
proof" to show that it is possible to create 
an earthlike environment in space. I have 
no doubt that in the long run people born in 
space are going to do all sorts of new, 
strange, different things with the habitats 
they'll build. 

I think it's fair to say that until I began 
looking into this question, eyeryone— even 
Tsiolkovsky — had assumed -that life In 
space meant a very unearthlike situation. 
Tsiolkovsky came closest with his green- 
houses. They were excellent designs, very 
efficient, basically tubular, like our "crystal 
palace." He had a lot of Ihe essential ideas 
righl: lo go for unlimited, clean solar energy 
outside the planet's shadow to make use of 
the resources of the asteroids. Aside from 
him. almost everyone thought of space as a 
route from here to there. The destination 
was always assumed to be a planetary sur- 
face. But once you say that space itself can 
be the destination rather than just a 
corridor— that you can build large, earth- 

like environments in space— you gel a rad- 
ical change in viewpoint. Settling Mars or 
Venus, even if we could, would add rela- 
tively little to our usable land area and 
would leave us with all our planet-bound 
energy problems. Settling free space gives 
us a full-time, clean energy source and 
bursts the limits-to-growth argument wide 
open. It has implications for human devel- 
opment beyond our solar system as well. 
Every star becomes an appropriate target 
for an emigrant ship; you're no longer seek- 
ing the rare habitable planet with a tiny, 
fragile biosphere. 

Omni: That brings to mind Michael Hart's 
computer simulations, which indicate that 
the habitable zone around a star may be 
much narrower than had been thought. 
O'Neill: Exactly. If you say that the normal 
habitat for human beings is going to be in 
space and that planetary surfaces (except 
this one) are only incidental, that means a 
much faster and more certain expansion of 
the human race through the galaxy. That 
may not matter right now, but looking back 
from centuries in the future, I think it will be 
seen as the greatest possibility we've 
opened up. 

Omni: Whom else would you credit as a 
forerunner in these ideas? 
O'Neill: When I was starting. Freeman 
Dyson was one of the first people I talked 
to, of course, and he suggested I look into 
Tsiolkovsky. 1 think he may also have put me 
onto J. D. Bernal, the English biologist, 

who'd envisioned a rather shiplike space 
habitat that was more than anything an 
analogue of the structure of a living cell. 
Then' there was Dandridge Cole, who sug- 
gested hollowing out and rotating asteroids 
for use as habitats and sketched some 
ideas on space mining. I remember getting 
an initially irritated letter from Arthur C. 
Clarke, who's since become a good friend: 
He thought my own work had followed his 
Rendezvous with Rama, whereas in fact I'd 
been lecturing about it for several years 

Omni: Clarke had also written about elec- 
tromagnetic accelerators, hadn't he? 
O'Neill: Yes, although he didn't work out the 
essenlial concepts of a mass driver. I cred- 
ited Clarke in my first paper, but his idea of 
magnetic acceleration goes all the way 
back to Emile Bachelet around 1910. He 
hoped to come up with a package-transfer 
system for use in cities and had a model 
that was displayed at a Paris exposition 
before World War I, where the young 
Winston Churchill is said to have seen it. 
Omni: The rest is history ... but back to 
magnetic acceleration. 
O'Neill: After Bachelet there was Edwin 
Northrup, a Princeton physics professor. I 
don't know whether he was familiar with 
Bachelet's work; in any case he repeated a 
good deal of it and also had a working 
electromagnetic launcher for small projec- 
tiles. He wrote a delightful book in 1937, 
called Zero to Eighty — part science 


"At long last, the perfect weapon! It destroys everyone and everything 
but the scientist who created it." 

fiction — with some photographs of his ap- 

I was lucky to address the problem at the 
right time, 1974. By then, high-field super- 
conductors existed; so the load-carrier 
"bucket" could have a strong permanent 
magnetic field without burning up because 
of resistance heating. That way, too, it could 
"fly" magnetically avoiding frictional con- 
tact with the guide structure. An article by 
Kolm and Thornton, of MIT. taught me about 
magnetic flight and pointed out the advan- 
tages of synchronous drive, in which you 
feed back information from the moving load 
lotime the drive coils, rather than the induc- 
tion drive in which the load "surfs" on a 
traveling wave. The other essential idea for 
an effective mass driver is that you don't 
throw away your load carrier, the "bucket," 
with the payload, but decelerate it and use 
it over and over. 

Omni: In following the development of your 
proposals, one can't but be impressed by 
the thorough working-out of the quantitative 
details. Did you enjoy all the complex cal- 
culation involved? 

O'Neill: It doesn't have to be complex to 
be correct; in many cases figures on the 
back of an envelope will do just fine. What 
was important was that I was able to show 
that every essential item in the whole sys- 
tem is within our present technical capabil- 
ity It's like a jigsaw puzzle that isn't really 
there until it's complete. If you have to 
wave your arms even once, that's enough to 
shoot the whole scheme down. Tsiolkovsky 
had no choice but to wave his arms when it 
came to the question of how to get into ' 
orbil, because the rockets hadn't been 
built yet. Most people don't realize that if 
you want to make hardware that works, 
there's all the difference in the world be- 
tween just having a nice idea and actually 
being able to put down the numbers for 
every essential element. 
Omni: Perhaps that's what makes some 
people uncomfortable with the whole 
idea— the feeling that life in space would 
mean life with a demanding, interdepen- 
dent technology around them at all times. 
O'Neill: The first quantum jump is demand- 
ing, yes. But when you go a little further and 
ask what life would be like in a space 
habitat, I think it turns out to be in many 
respects a less demanding technology 
than we have at present. You don't need 
internal-combustion engines; you don't 
need big power grids; you don't need 
elaborate communications networks, be- 
cause within the habitat it's all line-of-sight; 
you don't need high-strength materials. 
Take a homely problem, the manufacture of 
fertilizer for agriculture: With a six-inch pipe 
at the focus of a solar mirror you can com- 
bine nitrogen and oxygen to get the high- 
energy precursors of fertilizer in any quan- 
tity you need, That's a lot simpler and 
cleaner than burning fossil fuels to make 
chemical fertilizers, the way we do now 
Omni: Don't you need sophisticated recy- 
cling, especially of water? 
O'Neill: If you have a reasonably tight pres- 

sure vessel, you shouldn't lose any of it, and which is enough for an awful lot of rocket 
you d have plenty of energy to distill it, We flights bringing materials up info orbif 
have serious problems recycling on Earth Omni: The Apollo lunar module wouldn't 
because we keep losing bits of what we're make a vsry effective cargo carrier, thouqh 
recycling, and it gets dispersed in very low Aren't some new vehicles goinq to be 
concentrations throughout the environ- needed? 

menl; in a space habitat, keeping track O'Neill; Yes. we'd need probably three new 
would be a lot easier. Overall, day-to-day but "conventional" vehicles: an interorbit 
lite in a space habitat wouldn't require freight-transfer vehicle, an interorbit pas- 
much technology above the level of some senger carrier, and a vehicle lhat could 
ofthe better agricultureyou find around the sofi-land and take off from the lunar sur- 
world today-agriculture that's not even face. None of them requires a big new en- 
necessanly carried on by literate people. gine; They're in the class of the Apollo ser- 
Omni: When you talk to congressmen and vice and propulsion module or the Aoena 
others who influence public planning and completely within fhe limits of what we've 
spending, how do you appeal to them? Are been designing and building for the past 
they more interested in economic pros- fifteen years But we still have to build 
pects or in beating the Russians, or do they them. 

shareyourexcitemeniandbeliefthaithisis Omni: Speaking of engines the shuttle it- 
acha enge we must rise to? se |f has had its share of problems and de- 

O Neill: I really don t tailor my statements to lays, 

the audience, although I underline some O'Neill: The shuttle is one of the toughest 
things here and there. I find thai elected aerospace design problems ever tackled 
representatives tend to have quite a good because it has to perform both as a rockef 
sense of Iheirconstiiuenis' underlying feel- and as a heavy-payload airplane over a 
ings and desires-not surprisingly, since very wide flight regime, from eighteen 
they do get electedl And many of them thousand mph to landing speed I'mconfi- 
sense a national feeling of frustration, a dent that it'll work out though Engine- 
feeling (hat ;ne country isn t moving any- development troubles are characteristic of 
where or is even falling back. We have for every new aerospace venture Did you 
so long been a nation identified with new know that the jumbo jets in their firsi year 
ideas, new technology, new social experi- of commercial operation had several 
ments, and now we seem to be losing that hundred in-flight engine failures? 
position. Where do we go from here?These Omni- (Mo 

representatives look at a new possibility O'Neill: Most passengers don'ti Think 
like the high frontier, and they wonder: Is about fhat when you wonder about the 
America going to be a part of this revolution shuttle's prospects 
or sit back and walch other countries take Omni: You share with Deng Xiaoping the 
iSX*^ ♦ ■ ♦ ■ dis,inction of having flown the shuttle 

I think that the movemeni into space is S i mLJ [ator. As a lightplane pilot how did it 
going to happen, whether its done by feeltoyou^ 

Americans or not That substantial num- O'Neill: Like a lead brick. The instruments 
bers oi people w.: 1 evoniUrHily make apace were very unia-iha: ;<-\ a sp;up the-- nr-w 
their routine environment is inevitable, if we use in many fighters but completely unlike 
don't blow ourselves up firsl; fhe impera- that in most other planes And I wa<; sur- 
ttves pointing that way are so basic and so prised to find out on my first "landing" in the 
consistent with previous human history. simulator that you can balloon it. 

Omni: You've a! leasf started fhe ball rolling Omni: Balloon'' 

toward a naiional constituency for space O'Neill: Pull up too sharply just before 
colonization. Would it be fair to say that the touchdown. You get a ghasily stall of 
recent work on reducing fhe scale of the course, followed by a crash, 
firsi quantum jump is "insurance," in case Omni: I hear the. sound of heaf-shield tiles 
no massive government support is forth- breaking. Back to your own drawing board' 
SSHEPi, ,- ■ . ■ The ,ourth Princeton/AIAA [American In- 

Nail: Well i* s celain-y interestingtoask: stitute of Astronautics and Aeronautic] 
Lan it be made smal enough to be non- conference is coming up soon and I un- 
aovemmanfal? People are now appreciat- derstand verwill 

mg in all sorts of detailed ways that the be demonstrated. Is that coming alonq 
smaller you can make the first step, the satisfactorily? 

betteroffyouare.Thalidearanthroughthe O'Neill: Bill Snow has just done the first 
workshops 1 c^cnbcd tmltet For exam- f u ||-power tests on four coils So far there 
pie, we aren't locked into the plans for a aren't any surprises or hitches; there s 1 ist 
mass driver on the moon. You can draw up a lof of work to be done 
a very stripped-down scenario involving Omni: That sounds ; k9 the right notetoend 
only chemical rockets, say, by setting up on. Thank you, Dr. O'Neill 
the lunar processing plant chiefly to extract 

oxygen, which is forty percent of the un- Those who would like continuing news of 
selected Apollo samples, and which con- activities aimed af space colonization can 
stitutes eighty-five percent of the total mass receive it by subscribing to the newsletter 
of rockef propellant. An automated fifteen- of the Space Studies Institute ($10 per 
ton unit would yield something like four year). Writeto: SpaceStudies Institute Box 
nundred tons of liquid oxygen per year, 82, Princefon. N.J. 08540. OQ 

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tyfold. Their technology advanced lo the 
level of powered transportation and atmo- 
spheric flight. 

On the advice of the Zetetics, specimens 
trom this period were gathered not from a 
single locus but from a variely of sites on 
the planet. And, as a cautionary measure, 
the Anpreene ship was moved to a higher, 
safer orbit. 

The first specimen was a woman, 
dressed in layers of worn and dirty clothing. 
She fell to the base of the focal area but 
■ quickly clambered erect and looked about 
wildly until her eyes fell upon the Empath. 

"Who the hell are you? Where is this 
place? What happened to the tank?" she 
demanded. Her language was utterly un- 
like all the others'. 

The Empath probed for a proper re- 
sponse. "You will be returned soon enough, 
comrade. Ail we ask of you is afew minutes 
of intelligent talk." 

She spat. "Talk, hell! Get me back so I 
can stop that tank." 

"You will stop the tank, I promise you. But 
you will die." 

"Do you think I don't know that?" She took 
a step toward the Empath, shielded her 
eyes from the surrounding light, and 
studied the white-robed figure closely. 

"What are you, anyway? Some kind of 
priest? No, a priest wouldn't call me com- 
rade. Well, you can keep your comrade, 
too. I'm not dying for the party any more 
than I'm dying for God." 

"Why are you dying, then?" the Empath 
asked the woman. 

"To blow a tankful of those bastards to 
hell. To let my friends escape so they can 
kill more of them. Satisfied? Now get me 
back where I belong." 
"You will be returned." 
"Do you think you can keep me here until 
I lose my nerve? I don't know who you are or 
how you got me here, but you won't keep 
me without a fight," the woman said, reach- 
ing into her ragged coat and lurching to- 
ward the Empath. 

She was returned at once. 

The Empath weighed what it had drawn 
from her and informed the Conceptualiz- 
es, "She did not believe that she was in the 
presence of a deity. She was witling to take 
Anpreene life in order to return to her com- 
panions and destroy the aggression vehi- 

"She was extracted from an extreme ag- 
gression condition. The vehicle she sought 
to destroy had already caused harm to 
those in close bond with her," the Concep- 
tualizes explained. 

"She wished to make it possible for 
others to live on. But she could do so only 
by the sacrifice other own continued exis- 
tence. She was aware of that." 

The Conceptualizers made no response. 
The second specimen was a young boy, 
slightly built, barely of the age al which this 
race matured . He gazed at the Empath with 
a look of tearful reverence, then bowed 

"What is the marked cloth binding this 
specimen's forehead?" the Empath asked. 
"/ sense's significance, but its purpose is 
not clear to me. " 

The Conceptualizers explained at once. 
"It is symbolic, not functional. The sym- 
bolism relates to a period on which our data 
are incomplete, but there are indications 
that the wearing of this cloth proclaims 
one's willingness to die in battle." 

"It is strange that a people so eager to 
die should instead thrive. What is the nature 
of their battle?" 

"It is a conflict of machines guided by 
members of this race. This specimen seeks 
to inflict damage on a large water-transport 
vehicle by hitting it with the atmospheric- 
flight machine in which he travels," the 
Conceptualizers explained. 

The specimen straightened, bowed 
again from the waist, then fell to his knees 
and prostrated himself. When he began to 
speak, the Empath was perplexed by his 
revelations, although the desired response 
was clear at the first brush with the boy's 

"Like the true Divine Wind, you fall upon 
the vessel of the enemy and destroy it ut- 
terly You have blossomed into a flower of 
death to bring honor upon your Emperor 
and your family. You will be forever num- , 
bered among the samurai," the Empath 
said in the boy's language. Even as it ut- 
tered the words, the Empath felt a sense of 
peace, fulfillment, and happiness deep 
within the boy. 

"The boy believed that an Empath was 
something that at once partook of both di- 
vinity and the boy's own nature," reported 
the Empath when the youth was gone. 
"This race seems to have as many divinity 
myths as it has individuals. " 

"Perhaps a stage in development. The 
specimens of the second taking strongly 
denied divinities and related myths," the 
Conceptualizers pointed out. "They ap- 
peared to worship an abstract communal 
concept of selective application" 

"But that is irrational, considered in rela- 
tion to the beliefs of those we've probed in 
the first taking." 

"The irrational appears to be not merely 
tolerated but highly valued among this 
race, and its acceptance increases as the 
race grows," the Conceptualizers informed 
the Empath. "The battle in which these 
specimens are engaged is almost planet- 
wide. It appears to us that they have care- 
fully divided the planet into imaginary units, 
and groupings of these units are systemat- 
ically endeavoring to destroy one another." 
"Is there unity within each grouping? 
Have they progressed to at least that level?" 
"They have not. The groupings are tem- 
porary. Within the groupings, and within the 
units, are strong indicators of latent frag- 

mentation < this con- 

flict among reorganized groupings. The 
race appears to be self-destructive," con- 
cluded the Conceptualizers. 

The Empath paused and reflected, Yet 
they go on. 

Further specimens from this taking re- 
vealed little. They were fatigued, or their 
minds were warped with hatred or befud- 
dled with horror, and the Empath was 
pained by contact with them. 

The last specimen from this period was 
drawn from a crowded place behind the 
battle lines. He was naked, and the bones 
showed through his dry, taut skin. His head 
was shaven, his dark eyes sunk deep into a 
skull-like face. He stood motionless in the 
focal area, blinking (hose hollowed eyes, 
and when the Empath touched him, there 
was nothing within except numb, hopeless 

Then the eyes focused. The blinking 
stopped. The specimen looked directly at 
the Empath, robed in white, seated above 
him, and the Empath gasped and turned 
aside, shaken. The specimen vanished 

"He believed I was his deity, " the Empath 
murmured. "And he hated mel" 

No more specimens were taken from that 
period. The Empath, exhausted by the con- 
tacts of this taking, the largest of ail, went at 
once to sink deeply into pentrecane. The 
Assessors labored mightily to evaluate the 
findings and saw in their work a tangle of 
paradoxes. These creatures were isolates; 
yet they could form collectivities and fee! 
loyal to them to the point of death, even 
though the collectivity was temporary and 
arbitrary. That was madness. They believed 
in things imperceptible to the senses and 
extraintellectual, and believed with an in- 
tensity that endured great suffering and 
accepted a horrible death. Yet they could 
suffer such pains and repudiate the very 
myth that justified them. That was mad- 
ness. They fought one another with every 
weapon of mind and body, and all that their 
developing sciences could provide, and 
they used those same powers of mind and 
body and science to preserve and en- 
hance life. Madness. They were irrational. 
Atmosphere, genetic history, some malign 
radiation . . . something had made this race 
of beings absolutely mad, the Assessors 

This conclusion was not altogether dis- 
couraging. It was clear by now that the race 
of Earth was sure to destroy itself in a very 
short time. There would thus be no need for 
an Anpreene contact and no risk of having 
to bring Anpreene military power to bear 
against these little creatures. For all their 
ferocity, they could no] withstand the uni- 
fied might of the Anpreene Domination. 
They would resist, and it would be neces- 
sary to destroy them. And the destruction 
of even such a race as this would leave a 
scar upon the Anpreene memory. Far better 
to let them bring about their own inevitable 

During these deliberations, the popula- 
tion of the world below them had doubled 
and redoubled. The satellite and nearby 
planets had been visited. 

The Anpreene ship withdrew- to a safe 
distance, beyond the orbit of the satellite, 
and began preparations for a fourth and 
final sampling. In the opinion of the Asses- 
sors, a fifth sampling would be impossible; 
the race would be extinct. 

The final sampling consisted of a single 
specimen, a male, plucked from an enor- 
mous craft constructed in orbit above the 
planet. It was one ot three such craft, and 
all indications were that it would be de- 
stroyed by an internal malfunction as it 
reached the rim of the solar system. The 
selector focused, hummed to life, and 
reached out for the gray-haired man who 
stood on the operations bridge of the great 
orbiting ship. 

His subdued reaction surprised the An- 

He glanced about the focal area and 
seemed to comprehend the situation at 
once. Folding his arms, smiling, he said to 
the Empath, "So, you're out here after all. 
We weren't mistaken." 

"Address this specimen in friendly terms, 
as an equal," the Conceptualizers in- 

"We come in peace and friendship. We 
are the Anpreene, and we are your Iriends," 
said the Empath. 

"You even speak my language. Quite 
well, too. Telepathy, or have you been study- 
ing us from up here? Or perhaps you've 
been living among us?" 

'A portion of the Anpreene are Empaths, 
with a power akin to what you would call 
telepathy. It cannot be explained further in 
terms you would comprehend. We have 
been studying you since. . .since your year 

The man from the Earth ship made a low. 
whistling sound and shook his head slowly. 
"You must have seen some incredible 
things," he said. "Tell me, whal have you 
learned about us?" 

"Relate our conclusions," the Concep- 
tualizers ordered, 

"Your race is irrational." 

The man seemed startled, then amused. 
He looked directly at the Empath and said, 
"If it took you five hundred years to see that, 
you certainly aren't a race that jumps to 
conclusions. We've all known about that for 
a longtime." 

The Empath struggled with the man's 
reactions. This one was not like the others. 
Words were seldom a clear reflection 
of inner states in any case, but with this 
particular man, words and inner states 
seemed to be self-contradictory on almost 
every level. 

"I do not understand your reaction," the 
Empath admitted. 

"Did you expect me to be terrified? To 
attack you? To beg and scream for your 

"None of those things. You are not given 


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to such reactions. What is puzzling is your 
immediate understanding and acceptance 
of the situation. It is unlike the reactions of 
the other specimens." 

The man nodded and said, "I suppose 
that's true. The others must have thought 
you were a god. Or a demon." 

"That is accurate." 

"Well, I don't consider you either, and I'm 
glad to see you. In fact, I was hoping to find 
you, or someone like you." 


"Those ships— the one I was on, and the 
two others— are going out to look for other 
worlds like Earth and other intelligent 
races. And before I've even left the solar 
system, you've proved to me that my mis- 
sion can succeed. Of course I accept the 
situation. I rejoice in it!" 

"Have you no fear that an intelligent alien 
race might constitute a danger to your own 
race?" the Empath asked. 

"There's always that possibility I'm sure 
it's occurred to every people that ever 
looked up at the stars." He hesitated, 
looked carefully at the Empath, then went 
on. "Still, you've been here for five centuries 
and haven't attacked us or interfered with 
us in any way we've been aware of. You 
aren't too different from us in appearance, 
and you can speak our languages. These 
are encouraging signs. Apparently you're 
a much longer-lived race than we are, 
probably with a totally different time ori- 
entation and value system. A very rational 

people, too: thoroughgoing, cautious in 
judgment, farsighted. I don't know why 
you're here, but I see no evidence of out- 
ward hostility. What is the nature of your 

"Jell him all," instructed the Concep- 

"Our mission is like yours," said the Em- 
path. "We seek new worlds for the An- 
preene Domination. Yours is the most suit- 
able we have discovered." 

"Do you intend to try to take it?" 

"Our Assessors judge that aggressive 
action will not be necessary. Your race will 
soon destroy itself. According to Anpreene 
calculations, your destruction is long over- 

"Some earthly calculations give the 
same result. And yet we've managed to 
hang on. We may surprise you." 

"The Anpreene would prefer to avoid 
conflict with such a race as yours." 

"I'm not a spokesman for my race, but I 
think it's safe to say that we'd rather be your 
friends than your enemies. I hope we can 
be. But tell me, Empath, what do you plan 
to do with me now?" 

"You will be returned to your ship and to 
normal time and space. Your absence will 
not have been noticed. A faulty coolant 
valve will cause the ship to explode in 
seven to eighteen seconds after your re- 

"The main valve on C deck, the one just 
aft df the food processors?" the gray-haired 


"You can't fool Homo erectus with an old dodge like that." 

man asked. 

The Empath conferred with the Concep- 
tualizes and then said yes. 

"Is this your doing?" the man asked cau- 

"No. It is a predicted malfunction." 

The man was silent for a moment. Then 
he looked up. past the Empath, and asked. 
"Will the others make it?" 

'All indications are thai they will survive." 

"Then I suppose it's worthwhile." 

"Again your attitude is confusing." the 
Empath admitted. "Your race seems fond of 
life, and yet it accepts death willingly You 
are dying not in some struggle based on a 
belief, as your race often does, but in a 
mere mechanical malfunction. Yet you 
seem undisturbed." 

"My race doesn't like dying quite as 
much as you think. But we can accepl 
death if it has a purpose." 

"What is the purpose of your death?" the 
Empath asked. 

"I've helped to bring my people to the 
stars. Even if I don't make it, others most 
certainly will." 

When the man had been returned to his 
ship, the Assessors declared the proxi- 
mate phase of the mission complele and 
ordered preparations for the long home- 
ward voyage. The Empath and the Concep- 
tualizes, their hardest work done, started 
wearily for their respective living compart- 

The Empath telt drained of vitality. It had 
been trained from youth to assimilate the * 
life patterns of alien races and had done so 
on several earlier expeditions, but never 
with a race so frenzied and spasmodic in 
its ways. Attuning to the human race had 
been an exhausting duty. Even pentrecane 
had been scarcely enough to sustain 

"An interesting race," the Conceptualiz- 
es observed. "Bur mad. Their frenzy is the 
working out ot their madness. " 

"/ found much good in them," the Em- 
path responded. 

"Observe the discipline of the Empath. 
Do not overlook the fact that these crea- 
tures are interiors and potential enemies. 
Also, that they are mad. " 

The Empath, still steeped in human at- 
titudes and reactions, made no immediate 
response. After a time, in inner communi- 
cation, which in weariness was left un- 
guarded, open to the Conceptualizes, the 
Empath reflected. Yes, they are mad. But 
there is splendor in such madness. 

The Anpreene left the solar system in 
something more of a hurry than was their 
custom. The journey home was uneventful. 
The Empath spent the entire trip in deep 
pentrecane and arrived fully restored and 
revitalized. This proved to be fortunate, for 
much unexpected work lay ahead for ihe 

When the Anpreene ship returned to 
normal space within the Domination, the 
armada from Earth was waiting peacefully 
to greet it. DO 


quired for uneven ground; probably five or six would be 

enough. Both hand and foot power would be desirable for 
balanced exercise. John Thomas, a physics graduate from 
Oregon, has invented aquadruped bicycle-that allows the use 
of both hands and feet. Leg and arm cranks drive the front 
wheel, which also steers. Slightly modified; the bicycle could 
be ridden by a paraplegic using arms alone. This would give 
him a sense of freedom and accomplishment unknown with a 
standard wheelchair. I recently clocked a paraplegic riding a 
hand-cranked tricycle at over 18 mph; the arms can obviously 
provide considerable sustained power (approximately 15 to 
20 percent as much as the legs). 

An existing tricycle matching most of the above criteria is 
the Muscar, buili by Professor Paul Schondorf, of the Techni- 
cal University of Cologne, Germany. It is a well-designed 
all-weather vehicle pedaled from the easy-chair position. 

Using a human-powered commuter vehicle would have 
many advantages. Probably the most important of these 
would be that good health and physical fitness would result. 
Modern life-styles conspire against exercise of any kind, and 
people are forced to seek exercise outside their daily ac- 
tivities, Jogging, cycling, playing tennis, and engaging in 
other sports are fine, but to be realistic, exercise is much more 
easily accomplished if it has a specific purpose. 

Human-powered vehicles are also silent and clean, but 
could they really conserve energy? Yes. In the Western world it 
is doubtful that the use of human-powered transportation 
would increase food consumption in the least. At the present 
average rate of food consumption, people could exercise 
vigorously for several hours a day with little weight loss. Every 
trip not taken in an automobile would mean a conservation of 
fuel, with the added benefit of no pollution. 

Admittedly, where roads are hilly, pedaling a bicycle is slow 
and laborious. It may then be necessary to add an optional 
small electric motor-battery package as an aid on hills and in 
acceleration. By 1985, a tenfold improvement in energy den- 
sity should be realized in rechargeable batteries, which would 
make an auxiliary power package light and convenient. The 
mistake that manufacturers of mopeds are making is that they 
have made it impossible for riders to use mopeds as bicycles. 
The gearing is wrong, and mopeds weigh too much. Mopeds 
are not true hybrids but motorcycles in disguise. Their pedals 
serve little purpose but to start them up. A true hybrid would 
be human-powered first, with the motor serving only as an 

auxiliary. , 

NEW LAWS ^^_^_ 

Could this future vehicle come into common use within the 
next few decades? Probably not in afree economy More likely 
we'll see smaller and smaller automobiles with tiny efficient 
engines and superb streamlining that get several hundred 
miles per gallon. Regrettably, bicycles and other human-pow- 
ered vehicles are not safe in the present traffic mix with 
motorized vehicles. Constructing separate roadways would 
be wasteful as available land becomes more valuable. How- 
ever, legislation could change the entire picture almost over- 
night. Motorized vehicles used for daily commuting could be 
taxed nearly out of existence by discriminatory laws. Rigid 
fuel rationing and high fuel prices could limit automobile use 
to occasional trips or vacations. If this happened, our entire 
life pattern would have to be altered. The incessant American 
quest for luxury and ease of living would somehow have to be 
redirected (this might not be all bad). A realist will probably not 
lose much sleep over this possibility. 

And it isn't likely to bother the irrepressible inventors who 
participate in the Human Powered Speed Championships. 
They are sure many of their innovations will eventually appear 
on the world's highways. DO 



brains, and there is a good chance that we can. Sirce bo 
systems encode information as electrical charges, they pn 
duce electromagnetic fields that we can detect, manipulaL 
and perhaps translate from the brain's "language" to that i 
the computer; and back. Scientists have already made 
strong start. 


Last year the Defense Advanced Research Projects 
Agency (DARPA) reported to Congress 'sign ticani progress" 
in an area called biocybemetics. DARPA researchers' have 
managed to extract useful information from the brain's electri- 
cal activity. The electroencephalogram (EEG) is measured by 
electrodes placed on the scalp or inserted into the brain itself. 
Although it has been known that the EEG varies with 
mood — we generate alpha rhythms when relaxed, for 
example— trying to relate the mysterious squiggles of an EEG 
to specific thoughts and motor processes has seemed futile. 
Recently, though, DARPA researchers have used comput- 
ers to identify the EEG signals that distinguish thinking, or 
cognitive, processes from motor responses, such as signals 
to the muscles. By measuring the EEG signals for motor 
responses and those for cognitive load, they have been able 
to assess spare brain capacity from moment to moment. 

DARPA also claims that computers can identify EEG waves 
associated with decision making and action. If the EEG's 
decision-making component ends before the action compo- 
nent, the researchers say, the decision was probably correct. 
But when the decision-making signal continues after the ac- 
tion component ends, the probability of error is very high. A 
computer can now tell its operator "Excuse, me, Joe. I think 
you made a mistake there." 

Modern electronics will probably tell us much more about 
how our elusive neural signals reflect our thoughts and feel- 
ings. Scientists can now investigate EEG frequencies of up to 
several million hertz. This is an enormous increase in sen- 
sitivity over the 100-hertz range of the classic EEG chart re- 

Despite these refinements, it seems unlikely that the EEG 
will ever be able to operate a human /computer miefigencrj 
amplifier, The voltage differences measured by the EEG's 
widely separated electrodes cannot be traced to specific 
brain locations— a must for any useful link. 

Physiologists have .always yearned for a technique that 
would directly monitor localized brain activity from a distance 
so as to avoid, interfering with the brain's normal function, 
Today they have it. 

Electrical activity always produces a magnetic field around 
it. The brain's currents are no exception, Twenty years or so 
ago researchers went looking for magnetic fields created by 
biological processes. In 1963 Gerhart Baule and Richard 
McFee reported in the American Heart Journal that they had 
detected the biomagnetic field of the beating heart. But the 
field was only one-billionth the strength of the earth's mag- 
netic field. To detect it required extensive shielding; even then, 
sensing coils with 2 million turns of hair-fine wire could barely 
pick it up. 

Today the superconducting quantum interference device 
(SQUID], which uses superconducting niobium coils cooled 
in liquid helium, -is more than 1,000 times more sensitive to 
magnetic fields. By coupling SQUIDs with other modern elec- 
tronic techniques; Dr. Lloyd Kaufman and his colleagues at 
New York University have eliminated environmental magnetic 
noise almost completely 

A SQUID positioned a centimeter from the scalp can pro- 
duce a magnetoencephalogram (MEG) far more sensitive 
than an EEG. Kaufman and his fellow researchers can new 
locate neural activities in the brain within several millimeters. 

So far, Kaufman has mapped the response 
of the visual cortex to simple stimuli and 
has located the brain's reactions to electri- 
cal currents applied to the fingers. 

Eventually the MEG responses of the 
entire brain and the spinal cord will be 
mapped. At that point, computers may be 
able to decipher our MEGs and read our 

minds— if we let them. 


But how about the other way around'' 

How can computers talk directly to- the 
human nervous system? On July 24, 1962, 1 
had my own nerves linked to an electronic 
circuit that fed audio signals directly into 
my brain, without loudspeakers and with- 
out any electrical connection. 

A teenage gadgeteer named G. Patrick 
Flanagan, of Bellaire, Texas, had stumbled 
onto creating what he called a neurophone. 
Because no one had any idea how the de- 
vice worked, it seemed very complex, but, 
technically, it was very simple, nothing 
more than a 35-kilohertz oscillator 
amplitude modulated by a hi-fi amplifier. 
The amplifier fed the combined signals 
from the oscillator and the amplifier through 
a transformer that produced an output with 
very high voltage and very low amperage. 

An ordinary TV antenna wire carried the 
signal to two insulated pads that Flanagan 
had taken from a muscle-relaxer device. 
The 7.5-centimeter pads were basically a 
sandwich of metal mesh connected to the 

TV lead and insulated by two rubber disks. 
If you put one pad on your spine and the 
other*on the sole of one of your feet, you 
could hear perfect hi-fi in your head the 
moment contact was made. 

I investigated the Flanagan neurophone 
as a possible new product for a small in- 
dustrial firm. In three years of complex ex- 
periments researchers concluded that 
bone and skin conduction had nothing to 
do with the transmission of audio informa- 
tion to the nervous system. 

Dr. Wayne Batteau, then at Tufts Univer- 
sity, proved later that the neurophone was 
directly activating the human nervous sys- 
tem and that the audio information was not 
being picked up and transmitted to the 
brain via the auditory nerve. In fact, Dr. 
Batteau reportedly restored hearing to a 
nerve-deaf patient. 

Somehow the Flanagan neurophone 
seemed to couple electronic circuitry di- 
rectly to the human nervous system. The 
device could apparently send audio infor- 
mation along any nerve path to the brain, 
which recognized the signal as audio data 
and switched it to the appropriate area of 
the cortex. 

Unfortunately, my own research with the 
neurophone ended abruptly when the 
company I worked for decided the project 
did not fit in with its product mix. Shortly 
thereafter Dr. Batteau died of a massive 
myocardial infarction while scuba diving 
with dolphins in Hawaii, and Flanagan be- 

came involved with Oriental mysticism and 
developed into a leading exponent of 
"pyramid power." 

Unbelievable as the Flanagan neuro- 
phone may sound, I can assure you that it 
was no hoax. Many responsible people ex- 
perienced its effects. The experiments 
were conducted under the most controlled 
conditions we could arrange. 

In 1962 the neurophone, far ahead of its 
time, was considered only as a new type of 
hearing aid. Although it has remained un- 
used for more than a decade, I hope that 
interest in it will be renewed and that re- 
search will resume. Technology may now 
have caught up to the point where the 
neurophone could be used as the basis for 
human-to-computer interface. 

Of course, it is still far too early to say 

whether the intelligence amplifier will even 
remotely resemble Cy. But one thing is 
certain: Advances In our knowledge and 
technical skills are bringing us closer to a 
working, fully functional Interface device. 

The intelligence amplifier will combine 
our creative, self-aware, multichannel, and 
many-circuited nervous system with the 
high-speed computation of the electronic 
computer. The crystalline computer will 
become an extension of our own minds, a 
new tool to expand intelligence. 

Viewed in perspective, the intelligence 
amplifier is only a logical step in the evolu- 
tion of computer technology. Computers 
and robot machines have taken over much * 
of manual labor and painstaking computa- 
tional work. Yet we have only begun to 
explore the computer's ability to reduce our 
mental work load. So much of our time and 
resources, especially during our educa- 
tion, are still devoted to memorizing an 
enormous body of information and ideas 
that forms the basic framework on which all 
later knowledge is built. Why shouldn't we 
use computers to help us. 

Will the crystalline computer in an intelli- 
gence amplifier take over and rule the col- 
loidal, human portion? Only if we humans 
design ittodoso.Thecomputerisatool . . . 
and, yes, tools occasionally get out of 
hand. The hammer can bang your thumb if 
you aren't careful. Fire can burn you. But 
because tools are not always safe is no 
reason not to have and use them. 

Perhaps one last question must be 
asked: Why try to build the ultimate com- 
puter, the intelligence amplifier, in the first 
place? Why not continue to rely on ordinary 
human intelligence? 

To help me keep some perspective 
about the world, I've put a motto in Latin 
above my desk: Nescis, mi fili, quantilla 
sapientia regitur mundus. Rather loosely 
translated, this tells me, "You'll never know, 
my son, with what little real knowledge the 
world is run." 

To run the world better, with more real 
knowledge, we need all the help we can 
get. That is the real purpose of the intelli- 
gence amplifier. DO 


bris. The viral invasion is aborted. Darwin 
II 's entertainment is finished, but the in- 
terferon story does not end here. 

In the mid-1970s the Finnish virologist 
Kari Cantell developed a method to pro- 
duce and purify arge quantities of human 
interferon from leukocytes obtained from 
blood donors at the Central Public Health 
Laboratory in Helsinki, Finland. It was 
known at the time that interieron possessed 
unique qualities to attack many of the more 
potent viruses that cause disease, but the 
interferon that was produced by virus in- 
fection of animal-culture cells showed little 
or no activity within human cells. 

To obtain sufficient quantities of human 
interferon, human cells had to be grown 
and infected with virus. The recovered in- 
terferon could then be used in Gllnical 
trials, in the actual treatment of palients 
suffering from viral disease. 

Taking a natural body substance, purify- 
ing it, and finally turning it into a drug that 
can be used to treat human disease is noth- 
ing new in the annals of medicine. Certain 
hormones — particularly the corticoste- 
roids and insulin— have been put to use- 
this way As a drug, interferon is a logical 
contender lor this permutation role, but, 
except for vials of the impure substance 
that are available in drugstores in the Soviet 
' Union {ostensibly to combat ihe common 
cold), it is being used only experimentally 
to combat some viral diseases in man. 

Interferon's effectiveness against the 
viruses that cause the common cold began 
appearing in the scientific literature early in 
the 1970s. Large doses of the drug, 
sprayed into the nostrils of volunteers, pre- 
vented the major symptoms— achiness. 
fever, and runny nose— caused by rhino- 
vims 4, one of the myriad viruses that 
cause the common cold. Other medical in- 
vestigators had similarly good results after 
administering interferon— by injection— to 
patients suffering from s.erum hepatitis 
(hepatitis B), a type of liver disease that is 
contracted through transfusions of con- 
taminated blood. When interferon is com- 
bined with another antiviral drug — adenine 
arabinoside— the hepatitis-B virus virtually 
ceases to multiply. This double treatment 
may hold Ihe long-awaited cure for this 
chronic viral disease, 

In still other clinical experiments inter- 
feron apparently enhanced the effect of 
rabies vaccine, although it had precisely 
the opposite effect with vaccinia, the vac- 
cine against smallpox. So far, interferon 
seems to be the only substance that can 
retard herpes virus infection in the eye 
(herpes keratitis] and along nerves close to 
the skin (herpes zoster, or shingles). 

While investigating interferon's effec- 
tiveness against certain viruses, research- 
ers stumbled onto a hitherto unsuspected 
property of the protein: It retards the growth 
l of certain malignant cells. In retrospect, 

though, this exciting discovery seemed 
logical, After all, interferon and the proteins 
it Iriggers within cells disrupt the protein- 
assembly mechanism— the very mecha- 
nism that both cancer cells and. viruses 
exploit in their rapid replication. 

What's more, the normal surface-mem- 
brane controls that tell noncancerous cells 
when to stop growing may be regulated in 
some way by interferon. When these con- 
trols go awry in malignant cells, the tumor 
grows haphazardly, invading tissue and 
choking off vital organ functions. Extra in- 
terferon caused some tumors to recede 
through a combination, researchers be- 
lieve, of surface and growth inhibition. 
Normal cells were hardly affected at all. 

For the first time researchers had a drug 
that would attack cancer cells alone. And 
the drug was a natural cellular product. 

The firsf trickle of relatively purified 
human leukocyte interferon from the Hel- 
sinki blood banks went lo Dr. Hans Stran- 
der, a Swedish oncologist at the Karolinska 
Hospital in Stockholm. He used it to treat 
patients suffering from acute leukemia, 
Hodgkin's disease, multiple myeloma, or 
osteosarcoma. Not all the patients' condi- 
tions improved. In some cases the disease 
diminished, only to progress again. But in 
his 34 osteosarcoma patients the survival 
rate was twice that of patients receiving 
conventional bone-cancer therapy. Most 
remained free of metastases, the dreaded 
spread .of the malignant cells that break 

away from the original tumor and migrate to 
oiher organs. 

Dr. Strander published his findings, be- 
ginning in 1974. but they "received scanty 
consideration from cancer specialists irv 
the United States because Strander's 
methods seemed suspect, A few re- 
searchers, in effect, promoted Strander's 
findings, and they extended their own in- 
vestigations into' interferon's anticancer 
properties, using Cantell's interteron. 

The major holdup was the slow produc- 
tion of the interferon, which proved to be 
extremely difficult to purify in large quan- 
tities. (Three pints of blood provide ~only 
enough white cells to produce a single 
day's supply of interferon for one patient.) A 
millionth of an ounce costs $1,500, which 
translates to some $22 billion per pound. 
Strapped for dollars, U.S. researchers 
began 1heir own production lines. 

Cell biologists found that slightly varying 
types of interferon could be harvested from 
different human cell lines. The National In- 
stitute of Allergy and Infectious Disease 
supporled a pilot project for the production 
of interferon from fibroblasts (connecfive- 
tissue cells) at New York. University. The 
Massachusetts Institute of Technology has 
begun its own production facility for fibro- 
blast interferon under bioengineer David 
Levine and Professors Daniel Wang and 
William Thilly Using 40 million tiny glass 
beads in a flask to multiply surface area on 
which fibroblasts can grow, the research- 

"And you say that each time you swallow it's accompanied by a soft whirring sound?" 

ers have achieved a tenfold increase in the 
number of fibroblasts yielded. A human- 
leukocyte production line has been estab- 
lished at the University of Berne in Switzer- 
land under the auspices of Sloan- 
Kettering. Dr. Christian Anfinsen, a Nobel 
Prize-winning biochemist, has been put in 
charge of the National Institutes of Health's 
effort to isolate leukocyte interferon 'at the 
empty biological-warfare facility at Fort De- 
trick. Maryland. 

Such efforts at production were directed 
at obtaining sufficient quantities of interfer- 
on for purification and analysis. The sub- 
stance was proving to be devilishly difficult 
to purify, and biochemists needed the pure 
essence in order to work out its amino-acid 
sequence. Their thinking was that they 
might be able to synthesize it in the labora- 
tory, circumventing the human-cell-culture 
production method. 

Other researchers would like to insert 
human interferon genes into harmless bac- 
teria in an effort to induce these micro- 
scopic factories to produce an endless 
supply of the valuable protein. Once the 
controversy over safety regulations for re- 
combinant-DNA research simmers down, 
this approach will undoubtedly be tested 
on a broader scale. (Such gene-splicing 
techniques are already being used to pro- 
duce human insulin and somatostatin— a 
growth -hormone inhibitor used to control 
pituitary gigantism.) 

As more interferon was produced and as 

more researchers took an interest in the 
substance, a new picture of interferon's 
role in the body emerged. The substance 
was no longer regarded as a mere 
stimulator of antiviral protein. In fact, its 
antiviral effect is nowihought to be only one 
aspect of its regulatory control of the body's 
immunological system. Current knowledge 
suggests that interferon is an intercellular 
messenger— in effect, a hormone— with 
antitumor activity through its action on cell 
membranes and DNA replication, and an- 
tiviral activity through the mechanisms that 
the fictional Dr. Darwin described in his 
holographic demonstration. 

Researchers have discovered that be- 
sides being made in leukocytes and fibro- 
blasts, the substance is manufactured in a 
third cell— and without prior viral prompt- 
ing. These cells, called lymphocytes, are a 
vital link in the immunological system, re- 
sponsible for producing antibodies and 
controlling the rejection phenomenon by 
which the body distinguishes its own tissue 
from foreign tissue. Interferon from one 
specific kind of lymphocyte, the T- 
lymphocyte, which originates in the 
thymus, can suppress the immunological 
response and delay graft rejection. Its med- 
ical applications in organ-transplant 
therapy are now being actively studied. 

Naturally occurring interferon, produced 
when any virus attacks the human body, is 
released into the intercellular fluid within a 
matter of hours after the invasion. These 

"There it is, son. io: boner or worse . . . the universe." 

same body fluids, which transport the in- 
terferon to unaffected cells, also contain as 
yet unknown substances, which begin to 
inactivate the interferon. A balance be- 
tween inactivation and viral-induced in- 
terferon continues for the duration of the 
acute stage, when virus is being assem- 
bled and released to infect other cells. 

Although interferon is the first line of de- 
fense that the body's immunological sys- 
tem hurls against viruses, it is by no means 
the sole defense. Antibody and sensitized 
lymphocytes together with the scavenger 
macrophages all enter the intercellular 
arena to contain the spread of the virus. 
Indeed, the antibody against specific vi- 
ruses is more deadly to the invaders than 
interferon alone. Interferon will never dis- 
place the need for vaccination, because 
this natural cellular substance cannot pro- 
tect cells from viral penetration as does the 
antibody, which immobilizes the virus be- 
fore the cell-membrane-attachment stage. 

Interferon, though, may find a use in 
combating viruses for which no vaccine is 
effective. Influenza, among other respira- 
tory viruses, can alter its surface chemical 
structure so as to bypass the antibody sys- 
tem that had been aroused by previous 
infections with a slightly different influenza 
virus. In such instances interferon that can 
be applied in a nasal spray may have some 
salutary effect. An experiment with nasal 
interferon on flu victims several years ago 
in England met with disappointing results, 
but the interferon used was not as pure as> 
the interferon being produced now. 

As important as its application is against 
virus, the real promise of interferon seems 
to lie in cancer therapy; this was not widely 
recognized, however, until last year. After 
researchers and cancer clinicians in in- 
creasing numbers had begun their own 
trials and experiments with interferon, the 
American Cancer Sociefy decided to throw 
its considerable weight, in monetary terms, 
into the forefront of interferon treatment. 

Late last year the society through its di- 
rector of research, Dr. Frank J. Rauscher, 
Jr., announced the largest grant in its 
history— $2 million— for the purchase of 
Cantell's interferon to be used in clinical 
trials against four kinds of cancer: breast 
cancer, non-Hodgkin's lymphoma, 
myeloma, and melanoma, 

Some 200 patients at 10 leading cancer 
treatment centers are receiving ihis novel 
treatment. The physicians heading the 
trials are cautious, and their statements 
about their expectations are guarded. But 
there is little doubt from preliminary results 
in ongoing clinical trials, which began be- 
fore ihe American Cancer Society's pro- 
gram, that interferon holds great promise. 
Perhaps not for all cancers, but time will tell. 

In any case investigations into how in- 
terferon inhibits tumor growth will continue 
to unmask the still-hidden mechanisms by 
which cells communicate with one another 
through the complex immunological sys- 
tem. If the antidote proves to be ancient, 
well, so be it.OQ 

124 OMNI 



be ignored, though I concur with your later 
statement to the effect that such exposi- 
tions should be documented, at least intui- 
tively. That's good enough for us in physics 
these days. 

Franz Kramer, Ph.D. 
Philadelphia, Pa. 

Misplaced Star 

In your April 1979 issue, time traveler Pat- 
rick Moore indicates that an observer near 
the star Arcturus would be looking at Earth 
from the Big Dipper. However, an observer 
on Earth, training a telescope at the Big 
Dipper, would not be seeing Arcturus. This 
spot of light, the fourth-brightest star in the 
heavens and prominent in the northern 
skies from March to September, is located 
in the constellation Bootes, approximately 
36 light-years distant. 

Further pondering Moore's article, I note 
with interest that should any observer be 
capable of traveling faster than the speed 
of light, he could, upon reaching a distant 
star system, stop, turn around, and watch 
himself coming. I find that difficult to be- 
lieve I 

Gerald Maxson 
Los Angeles, Calif. 

America's Secret? 

I came from Europe to Los Angeles only two 
months ago, and I did not come across 
Omni in England. But, while I was working 
here in the United States on a science 
series with engineer "Scotty" of Star Trek 
fame (whose acting is only his occupation; 
science is his preoccupation), several 
friends mentioned your magazine. Finally, 
someone brought me a copy, and I was 
staggered by the beauty of the publication: 
The photog raphy and the layouts are better 
than those in National Geographic; the 
interviews are more interesting than 
Playboy's; and the articles are as Informa- 
tive as, and more readable than, the ones in 
England's Nature. 

Why don't we know more about this mag- 
azine in England? Please continue forever. 
Marie Hoy 
Los Angeles, Calif. 

Space for Humans 

I was both entertained and intrigued after 
reading G. Harry Stine's article "Industry 
Goes to Space" in the April Omni. I am 
convinced that Stine researched the pros- 
pect of space industrialization well and 
analyzed the data fairly— from an eco- 
nomic standpoint. 

Although the final decision regarding the 
implementation of space industries will 
certainly depend on financial matters, I be- 
lieve that the strong points in favor of such 
projects are humanitarian. 

Instead of concerning ourselves with 
Dick Tracy wrist radios or stock-market 
quotations on electric toasters in India, we 
should think about the energy that could be 

provided by solar-power satellites — en- 
ergy that aids in the industrialization of 
underdeveloped nations. The result would 
be greater education and, hence, lowered 
population growth by means of birth-con- 
trol devices. This theory may at first seem 
imperialistic. However, as a rule, industri- 
alization yields a higher standard of living. 
Kenneth Allman 
Brooklyn, N.Y 

Intelligence by Design 

Kevin Langdon's conclusions ["The World's 
Hardest IQ Test," April 1979] about the 
average intelligence of women have no va- 
lidity if derived, as indicated, from his ob- 
servation of the membership of Mensa and 
the Four Sigma Society. The self-selected 
sample is neither random nor representa- 
tive and cannot be accurately used for 
generalization about the population of all 
women. Langdon fails to consider such in- 
tervening variables as the proven social 
conditioning of women to feelings of in- 
feriority, fear of success, and nonobsession 
with intellectual competition. His demon- 
strated egocentricity and patriarchal at- 
titude may well be the causes of his inability 
to meet women he doesn't "have to" talk 
down to." All that his test "conclusively 
shows" is that some women of average 
intelligence (relative to one another) 
bothered to complete his test. Langdon's 
intellectual ability may well benefit from 
application to a course in basic research 

Sally-Anne Cozens 
London, Ont., Canada 

In an article entitled "The World's Hardest 
IQ Test," Kevin Langdon says that there are 
more geniuses among men than among 
women. I think he should be made aware 
that this applies only to tests involving 
geometric figures and what is called "spa- 
tial visualization" ability Since his own test 
loads heavily on this factor (35 out of the 56 
questions), it is not surprising that those 
who pass the test are mostly males. But I 
think he errs in equating this specific ability 
with generalized "intelligence." or, as 
Langdon puts it, finding women he doesn't 
"have to talk down to." 

The question remains open as to whether 
the poor performance of women in geome- 
try is due to innate or acquired factors. 

George Fergus 
Schaumburg, III. 

In the introduction to the Langdon Adult 
Intelligence Test [LAIT], I am inaccurately 
quoted as saying that one of the reasons 
why I constructed the test and founded the 
Four Sigma Society was to "meet women [I ] 
wouldn't have to talk down to." I never said 
this, and, in fact, it does not reflect my 

People vary in their abilities, and it ap- 
pears that, on the average, women tend to 
do somewhat less well than men on non- 
verbal I.Q. tests and such I.Q.-like tests of 
ability as the quantitative section of the 

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My test, in common with most I.Q. tests, 
focuses on abilities that lend themselves to 
"objective" testing procedures, such as the 
multiple-choice format employed in the 

These abilities, while important and use- 
ful, are only a few of the mental traits that, 
taken together, constitute what I regard as 

In particular, the LAIT does nof measure 
more than one aspect of the vital area of 
common sense or judgment. The interper- 
sonal aspecl is not touched at all. Yet it is 
precisely here (in my subjective judgment) 
that women, on the average, nave a signifi- 
cant advantage over men. 

Obviously, I don't mean to deny that there 
are women with outstanding spatial and 
quantitative abilities or that some men have 
extraordinary insight into people, but there 
is a pattern of psychological differences. 

This pattern is a matter of observation 
and is independent of the question of ge- 
netic vs. environmental origins (though re- 
cent research indicates that there are slight 
differences between male and female 
brains) and of moral questions concerning 
the relationship between men and women. 

Finally, regardless of differences in abil- 
ity, there is no excuse for talking down to 
anyone. The patronizing attitude from 
which talking down derives is a sign of im- 
maturity and feelings of inferiority 

Kevin Langdon 
Berkeley Calif. 

Scot Morris replies: Langdon sent me a 
news clipping saying that he devised the 
test, in part, to meet women who were as 
intelligent as he is and that he has been 
able to find people "I don't have to step 
down to." I changed step to talk and took 
out the quotes. 

As for sex differences and IQ, in Intelli- 
gence and Personality Alice Helm (in a 
chapter she wryly titled "The Mediocrity of 
Women") says, "There is a tendency for 
males to be 'more so' than females, what- 
ever is being tested. Thus on intelligence 
tests . . . comparable young men and 
women . . . tend to gain mean scores which 
are similar, but the highest and lowest 
scores are liable to be male. . . . Men rather 
than women are found at the extremes. 
There are more male geniuses, more male 
criminals, more male mental defectives, 
suicides and stutterers. . . . The list is a long 
one with relatively few exceptions." 

I would add that variability is a male 
characteristic in virtually all mammals, not 
just human beings. 

Not Known 

You were quite right. The meeting at the 
United Nations went highly unnoticed. I 
had seen bits and pieces about a U.N. 
meeting concerning a UFO probe, but your 
magazine was'the first to give any kind of 
lengthy report on it. 

John Harding 
Alexandria, Va. 


I just finished reading Orson Scott Card's 
"Unaccompanied Sonata" [March 1979], 
and I must thank you personally for having 
printed such a moving piece of literature. 
This short story was my introduction to 
Card's fiction, but in no way will it be the 
last. I have rarely found a short story that 
evokes such emotion and love. Card has 
brought home to me, a writer, "just how 
terrible it would be to lose my craft. I am 
painfully aware of the time it will take for me 
to reach that fine level of evocation that 
Card has reached with this piece, and I 
often have doubts as to whether or not I 
could reach it. But "Unaccompanied 
Sonata" has needled me: I will reach it! 

Laura S. Diaz 
Coral Gables, Fla. 

In Honor of Alfred 

Alfred Bester must have put some Ray 
Bradbury and Isaac Asimov into the pro- 
gramming of "Galatea Galante" [April 
1979], There were surely no flaws designed 
into this tale, and I commend Omni for rec- 
ognizing Bester's talent. 

I hope you will honor Bester by inserting 
50 more of his stories into future issues. A 
totally enjoyable reading experience. 

Edward J. Burke 
Queens, N.Y. 

Interviewing Arthur Clarke 

As a fellow journalist, I was intrigued with 
Malcolm Kirk's interview of SF novelist Ar- 
thur C. Clarke in the March Omni, not only 
because of the content but also because 
Kirk was able to interview Clarke at all. I 
have written Clarke several times, asking 
for an interview and each time receiving a 
polite but standard letter explaining that he 
no longer granted such audiences. How 
did Kirk pull it off? 

Grant Durward 
Chicago, 111. 

Malcolm Kirk replies: Sometimes it's better 
not to write, but just sort of drop in instead. 
Granted, this is difficult when your subject 
lives in Sri Lanka. Fortunately, I was on a 
round-the-world, eight-month trip, courtesy 
of Pan American World Airways. Ihadbeen 
photographing psychic surgery in the 
Philippines and interviewing UFO contact- 
ee Rev. William Gill in Melbourne, Austra- 
lia, and I figured that as long as I was in the 
neighborhood, I'd try to see Clarke. 

I wrote him from Singapore and received 
a polite refusal, probably similar to the letter 
you were sent, I followed this up with a 
phone call from New Delhi and again asked 
to see him. He agreed but told me not to 
make a special trip. Of course, I did any- 
way, and the result of that meeting was the 
March interview. 

For helping make it all possible, I'd like to 
thank Pan Am, and particularly Richard 
Barkle, director of public communications, 
who, besides getting me to all these excit- 
ing spots, provided me with unflagging ad- 
vice and support. 

Summer School 

On page 32 of your April issue there was a 
brief article about a science-fiction class. 
It was of interest to me, and I shall write 
in for further information for the summer 
of 1980. 

Some of your readers might be inter- 
ested in the class'to be given for the sec- 
ond time this summer at California State 
University at Northridge. The class is 
called "Colonization of Space" and stress- 
es the science and not the fiction. The 
class will be given every weekday, June 
25 to August 3, from 9:30 to 11 am If 
you would like further information, call 
the Office of Continuing Educaiion, 
(213) 385-2644. 

Shelly Pearson 
Granada Hills, Calif. 


On behalf of the Society for the Advance- 
ment of Science Fiction and Spirit, I wish to 
take this opportunity to thank you for pro- 
ducing such a high-quality publication and 
personally tell you that it won the 1979 
Galaxy Award for best science-fiction 
magazine by a unanimous vote of our 
board of directors. We could not begin to 
praise your magazine enough; we'll leave 
that up to your countless readers, But we 
will say that your publication has set a new 
precedent for the entire science-fiction in- 
dustry, and we are very pleased to see 
science ficlion taking a new step forward. 
Correction: Make that a quantum leap for- 
ward. It would border on absurdity to wish- 
you good luck, for the high standard of 
excellence contained in the pages of Omni 
ensure that. Congratulations, Bob! And 
don't be surprised if you hear these exact 
words next year. 

Dr. Emil Barbadoza 

Chairman, SASAS 

San Diego, Calif. DO 




:gm Ni.'~!:'Fni"j 1 '-s.i.:-:!: ■,.-. 

True Believer 

I read the article "New Scandal in Psychic 
Research" [Continuum, AprilM979] with 
some interest. I believe that funding for 
psychic research should be rerouted to 
more worthwhile projects, not because I 
don't believe in psychic phenomena, but 
because I do believe in them. 

I have seen within my family too many 
instances of prophetic dreams, precogni- 
tion, clairvoyance, etc., to discount them 
totally. However, I have also observed that 
all psychic phenomena are like a car with 'a 
faulty starter. Sometimes it works and 
sometimes it doesn't. It is unreliable. Given 
this mysterious fact, it is not possible to go 
into. a lab, hook up a machine, and expect 
to get results. Experiments cannot be re- 
peated. This makes the whole project frus- 
trating and invites serious scientific inves- 
tigators to relegate research to charlatans. 

In my opinion, psychic phenomena 
should be given no more serious research 
than parlor games. Let's spend the money 
on something more tangible, and some- 
thing that will be of use in this overcrowded 
and warring world. 

Vickie Lloyd 
Shreveport, La. 

Power Play 

In reference to the article "Power Play" by 
Frederik Pohl [April 1979], the author 
agrees with other researchers as to what 
the critical question concerning our pres- 
ent energy situation is; however thereafter 
the article is less adept at contributing new 
and pertinent information than it is in offer- 
ing unwarranted criticism, 

For example, Mr Pohl rightly points to the 
urgency for stepped-up development of 
renewable- resource energy technologies 
but fails to comprehend the physical, 
technological, and political constraints that 
accompany such alternatives. In particular, 
solar power is not an option to be found 
everywhere; i.e., there are not enough 
cloudless regions in the United Slates to 
provide continuous solar-based electricity. 
In fact, all of the renewable-resource op- 
tions identified by Pohl are geographically 
confined. Thus, if Pohl had even hinted that 
the energy-producing options he lists were 
additive ingredients instead of the only in- 
gredients in supplying our energy appe- 
tites, the article would have been far more 

Jeffrey R Richetto, Ph-D, 
DeKalb, III. 

Lei me begin by saying that I am a great fan 
of Frederik Pohl. His work has amused, in- 
formed, and entertained me for years. 

However, I noticed an error In his article 
entitled "Power Play." 

The writer states a concern that if the 
polar ice caps were to melt because of a 
"heating" of the earth's almosphere. cer- 




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tain coastal cities would sink under 90 me- 
ters of ocean water. He also expresses a 
concern for ice masses calving into 
icebergs, which would float away and melt. 

Pohl overlooked one very simple fact, 
that floating ice already displaces its own 
weight in water. The net result of an 
iceberg's melting would only be less water 
depth, not more. 

The North Pole is entirely covered by a 
mass of floating ice. It poses no threat if it 
melts, at least so far as the possibility of its 
flooding the world. Antarctica, however, is 
covered by ice, which is supported by 
land. This Ice could hardly break oft and 
float away, except at the very edges, If all 
that ice were to melt, it would very possibly 
causes slight rise in the overall depth of the 
ocean, but even then the natural contours 
of Antarctica would hold quite a bit. 

It is the ice that is supported by land- 
glaciers and such — that we would have to 
worry about. Since a great deal of the per- 
manent ice in the world that is land- 
supported is found at such high altitudes, 
the amount of heating of the earth's atmo- 
sphere would have to be quite consider- 
able to provide those higher altitudes with 
enough heat to melt their ice. 

Sorry, Mr. Pohl. Back to the drawing 
board— as far as New York. Miami, and Los 
Angeles being under 90 meters of ocean if 
the Poles melt is concerned. 

Ed Bertschy 
Biioxi, Miss. 

Defending "Cranks" 

This letter is sent in response to the editorial 
"Turning the Crank" [Space, April 1979] by 
Mark R. Chartrand III. 

In fairness to the facts of the history of 
science, it must be granted that there have 
been some highly commendable "cranks," 
particularly in the area of physics, and their 
names are legion. Thomas Kuhn, in his The 
Structure of Scientific Revolutions, men- 
tions a few of these, and he reminds us 
once again that the greatest breakthroughs 
came from "outsiders," i.e., cranks— such 
men as Joule (energy), Maxwell (elec- 
tromagnetic theory], Einstein (quantum 
theory, relativity, etc.). Let us not gloss over 
the fact that for a long time they were all 
treated as cranks (poor Maxwell for nearly 
40 years). 

The medical doctor Wilhelm Roentgen's 
discovery of X rays was pronounced to be 
an elaborate hoax by Lord Kelvin. Count 
Louis Debroglie was booed and hissed off 
the stage by the Fellows of the Royal Soci- 
ety when he tried to deliver his paper on 
matter-waves, for which he later received a 
Nobel Prize. 

We might mentally review some of the pet 
ideas of otherwise unimpeachable scien- 
tists (the medical profession included), 
which later on were recognized for their 
capricious and eccentric character; 

We might recall how it was due to Jo- 
hannes Kepler (1571-1630) that Galileo 
acquired his first telescope. Galileo was so 

excited and impressed by what he saw- 
Jupiter with its moons, like a miniature solar 
system of its own— that he invited some 
eminent members of the church hierarchy 
to join with him in his observations. We 
know the results from Galileo's letter to his 
friend Kepler, which followed the meeting. 
"My dear Johannes, if only you had been 
here, how you would have laughed. They 
refused to look!" 

How shall we characterize the mentality 
ot these proud fellows in positions of re- 
sponsibility who so readily pinned the 
"crank" label upon fellow searchers (not all 
of whom were crazy)? Is it the herd instinct 
of an establishment overprotective oi the 
status quo (on which are based its operat- 
ing budgets)? For is it not inarguable that to 
believe in all things, just as to believe in 
none, only indicates either a rank inability 
or a downright refusal to use our God-given 
brains responsibly? 

A. C. Abajian 
New York, N.Y. 

Almonds and Plates 

I was extremely dismayed by certain as- 
pects of E. Lee Speigel's article "First En- 
counter" [April 1979], As a regular reader, I 
was looking forward to the "gallery of UFO 

However, it is blatantly obvious that the 
photos on pages 52, 54, and 59 are nothing 
more than fairly good textbook examples of 
lenticular clouds — most probably al- 

tocumulus lenticularis. These cloud types 
are very common to the leeward sides of 
mountains, and they can resemble lenses, 
almonds, or plates. 

It's a sad state of affairs if these photos 
were part of a presentation that UFOIogists 
made at a U.N. briefing. What will be 
Speigel's next ploy? Perhaps he'll resurrect 
those blurry, overexposed snapshots of 
alien (?) paper plates and garbage-can 
lids that permeated UFOIogy in the 1950s 
and 1960s 

Paul F Krause 
Woodbridge, Va. 

New Worlds 

Ben Bova is once again proving that he is 
among the finest science-fiction editors 
around. During recent years Bova has pro- 
vided a frequent showcase for the amazing 
talents of Orson Scott Card, who is now 
considered one of the hottesi science- 
fiction writers going. Many of my favorite 
authors have already appeared in your 
pages: Asimov, Sturgeon, Ellison. 

I also applaud Bova on his penetrating 
edilorial in your last issue [April 1979]. It is 
fortunate that our government wasn't 
asked to consider funding Columbus's 
voyage to the New World (catch the irony of 
those last two words). Politicians seem un- 
able to come to terms with the exploration 
of the ultimate in Mew Worlds— space. 

Kenneth Huff 
Riverton, Wyo. 

■'Representations, apparently, of a transitional stage between Homo erectus and Homo 
habilis: Homo horny." 

Swan Song 

After' reading Dr. Bernard Dixon's article 
[April 1979] I would like to offer a few sug- 
gestions to the unanswered "swan ques- 

the swan's endocrine system 
releases a hormonal substance, cyclically, 
that permits tubular membrane permeabil- 
ity, or, possibly, there exists a chemotaxis- 
like response to the body's ability to sense 
excess spermatozoa, thus allowing 

What Dr. Dixon failed to mention, in an 
otherwise interesting article, is that male 
humans are the only creatures who spill 
their sperm out ot lust and not solely out of 
the need to procreate. 

Personally, I much prefer this method to 
that of the angler fish. 

Charles Cusumano 
Sterling, Colo, 

Nuclear Accident— Not Likely 

I noted with a certain amount of dismay, 
though little surprise, the two letters on nu- 
clear power in your February issue. 

The letter from Richard Asinof is typical in 
its irrationality of the nuclear-power critics I 
have met It should be explained to Asinof 
that since the first U.S. nuclear reactor was 
put into operation in 1957 there have been 
no nuclear-related deaths, of industry per- 
sonnel or of private citizens. The amount of 
radiation that a person receives from natu- 
ral sources (i.e., the sun, the ground, and 
building materials) is considerably more _ 
than one can expect from living next door to ' 
a nuclear-power plant. 

If Asinof fears accidents, he should rest 
easy. According to the Rasmussen Report, 
a government-sponsored study, the 
periodicity of a significant accident is once 
in a billion reactor- years. This is to say, if all 
the power in the United States were gener- 
ated by nuclear power, you could statisti- 
cally expect an accident once in every 3 
million years. Even the pessimistic Union of 
Concerned Scientists doesn't feel that an 
accident will happen any more than once 
every 30,000 years. 

Scott Moon's comments are as far- 
fetched as Asinof's. His statements on 
government obstruction are not only insup- 
portable but ludicrous. And his fancy for 
solar power is idealistically nice but realis- 
tically without merit. The cost of a present- 
day solar-power generating station is as- 
ironomical. The chances of future technol- 
ogy coming up with an economical solution 
are small. The cost of material alone is pro- 

As for the probability of the waste's lying 
"for eternity," Moon is probably right. Its 
potency will be drastically reduced in a few 
hundred years, and after 500 years it will 
not be any more loxic than any number of 
household items are. 

It is indeed a pity that antinuclear is the 
chic thing to be today. For the question is of 
the utmost importance, and solutions must 
be based on well-thought-out ideas, not 
emotional ramblings put forth in letters like 

those of Mr. Asinof and Mr. Moon. 

W A. Weranko, Lt„ USN 

USS Independence (CV 62) 

FPO, New York 

This letter arrived three days before the 

Three Mile Island accident. —Ed. 

One and the Same 

I wholeheartedly agree that parapsychol- 
ogy should clean up its act, but so should a 
lot of other so-called sciences. 

My main objection is to [John A.] Wheel- 
er's overwhelmingly scientific statement 
that we live in a country that supports 
20,000 astrologers and only 2,000 as- 
tronomers. I suppose, because Wheeler 
says it is so, that we must take it as gospel. 
But I would contend that there are probably 
more than 40,000 practicing astrologers in 
this country. And the more astrologers we 
have, the more we shall be able to gather 
statistics and other verifying data to give 
even more credence to the art and science 
oi astrology. 

Yes, there are charlatans in every area ol 
rife, and the best thing one can do -for their 
specific discipline is to root them out. 

Knowledgeable astro:cgers, like myself, 
have been trying to tell this to the public for 
years, Mainly because every time we turn 
around we hear 2,000 astronomers casting 
aspersions on astrology. Yet if astronomers 
are properly to verify or refute, they should 
study astrology ... but the.y never do. 

I dearly hope that those ancient astrol- 
ogers — yes, I said asfro/ogers — Tycho 
Brahe, Kepler. Copernicus. Newton, and 
others, are not turning over in their graves at 
the remark that came from one of their 
modern brothers. At onetime astrology and 
astronomy were one and the same. It is the 
astronomers who prefer to call their 
brothers bastards. 

Perhaps because the astronomer's nose 
.5 always up in the air, he cannotsee what is 
*igh! in front of him, mainly humanity. 

Donna L Crozier 
Wappingers Falls. N,Y 
Your point that astrology and astronomy 
were once synoymous is unarguable. The 
oeople ol antiquity needed a way to explain 
t/hat they saw and experienced around 
them and, lacking optica! instruments, 
'ashione.d an astonishingly comprehensive 
view of the universe. Alas, as our systems 
:' measurement matured, so did our un- 
derstanding of the universe- — Ed. OO 


Page 12. Lenniri 


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NASA; paga 146, 


ruEXT Dnnnii 


WHITE DWARFS AND LITTLE GREEN MEN-Carl Sagan examines the fashion- 
able panoply of "ancient astronaut" theories espoused by pop archaeologist Von 
Daniken and others. Referring to Easter Island, the plains, of Nazca, and similar 
"alien-visitation" sites, the astronomer concludes that "none of these cases pro- 
vides even moderately convincing evidence of extraterrestrial contact." The one 
baffling exception is the remarkable mythology ot the Dogon people ot Mali. This 
primitive tribe seems to possess astronomical information that could only have been 
gathered through sophisticated optical telescopes. Can'this paradox be traced to 
extraterrestrial visitations? Sagan offers some intriguing clues in the August Omni. 

THE NOTEBOOKS OF LAZARUS LONG -Robert A. Heinlein's memorable 
character Lazarus Long has appeared in two novels, the more recent being Time 
Enough for Love. The wit and wisdom of this colorful hero— sage-, explorer, lover, 
and the world's longest-lived man — provide the basis for a stunning pictorial. 

BALLOONS— The slowest, cheapest, and most beautiful way to fly is turning out to 
be both popular and practical. While a rapidly growing number of amateur pilots are 
buying hot-air balloons for sport, engineers are looking at lighter-than-air craft for 
roles ranging from heavy-lift cargo vehicles to atmospheric probes on distant plan- 
ets. In the next Omni a provocative pictorial enables balloonist Nick En'gle to pro- 
file what could become-the next revolution in flight; photography by Simon Bastel. 

VAN GUARD— Omni reports on the spectacular Vagabond planetary probe, whose 
findings promise- to revolutionize cosmology. Scientists expected little from the 
mission after its budget was cut to only $199,999,99. Only an imaginative decision 
made by Dr. OzmoZdilmidgi, project director, at U.S. Thought Propulsion Laborato- 
ries, to subcontract "Van's" construction to a southern California custom shop saved 
the orbiter. and with it such unprecedented revelations as the existence of yeast, 
mixed drinks, and the potent isotope chili-235, on the third planet from our sun. 

INTERVIEW/JOHN ISAACS— Meet one of the world's foremost oceanographers in 

this exclusive interview. Isaacs, director of the Scripps Institute- for Marine Re- 
sources, isa self-proclaimed arneliorist— someone- who believes that problems are 
solvable if we do .something about them. Among his ideas; lowing icebergs north for 
fresh water -and pumping nutrients into the oceans to makethem more productive. 
Enjoy a frank conversation with -this radical oceanographer in the August Omni. 


co\ : v._"_i:: FnoM fiS! "■;■:■ 

delegation. It was an ugly episode. Several 
Japanese men seized the Australian, then 
several antiwhalers came to his aid, and 
then Japanese reinforcements arrived. The 
aisle was instantly jammed with people, 
which was fortunate, for no one could free a 
hand to throw a punch. Hotel security offi- 
cers led the Australian away. "You're barba- 
rians I" he yelled at the Japanese. "Whaling 
is barbaric!" 

"You!" a weeping Japanese woman 
shouted back, "you are barbarians." 

It sometimes seems, at an IWC meeting, 
that the gray flank of the whale has become 
a new tower of Babel— a smooth, wet, living 
monolith that confounds human tongues. 
The deliberations are rife with misunder- 
standing. The blood-spattered Japanese, 
in earnest meetings with environmentalists 
after the incident, tried their best to under- 
stand the motive behind the attack on 
them, but from the expression in their eyes 
it was clear they could not. Ready under- 
standing of other peoples has never been a 
Japanese trait. The Japanese delegates, 
myopic still, I think, from Japan's long cul- 
tural isolation, tried to peer into the senti- 
ments of the whale lovers and failed, find- 
ing those sentiments inscrutable. The 
whale lovers were not big on understand- 
ing, either— certainly not the British girl 
who screamed, "Jap bastards!" and 
jumped repeatedly on the backs of the 
Japanese men who had seized the protest- 
ing Australian. 

The IWC is one of those international or- 
ganizations designed to please nobody. 
Perpetual conflict is built into its charter, 
specifically into Article V which obligates 
the commission both to conserve whales 
and to protect the interests of the whaling 
industry. Conservationists are seldom 
happy with the IWC; neither are the whal- 
ers. The IWC is weak. Its regulations are not 
binding on member nations. Members, if 
they wish, may file objections and be 
exempted. The IWC has no powers oi en- 
forcement, relying instead on each of its 
member governments to police itself. 
These weaknesses are not unusual in in- 
ternational fisheries commissions, but they 
are depressing just the same. 

Of the two main factions in attendance 
this year, the conservationists have the 
greater cause for dissatisfaction. The 
world's whale populations have not been 
exploding as a result of overzealous IWC 
conservation measures. Whale popula- 
tions have been declining, steadily and 
alarmingly. While the IWC did not preside 
over the Great Decimation of the Twenties 
and Thirties— the commission was not 
formed until 1949, when the reality of that 
decimation had become apparent— still, it 
has presided over, and legitimized, the 
mopping-up operations. 

Conservationists worry about the illusion 
of the IWC. In its history the commission 

has often set whale quotas that the whalers 
do not, or cannot, fill. Such quotas, obvi- 
ously offer no protection at all. They do 
whales a disservice by suggesting that 
something important is being done on their 
behalf. It is true thai the IWC is no longer a 
whaler's club, as it was at the beginning. In 
the old days the commission cheerfully ig- 
nored the recommendations of its scientists 
and set high quotas; then the scientists' 
predictions of disaster came true. So today 
the IWC usually follows their scientific ad- 
vice. But even this advice is a kind of mi- 
rage. Science knows newt to nothing about 
the biology of whales. The IWC science 
committee complains regularly about hav- 
ing to make recommendations on the basis 
oi scanty data, but the committee is usually 
forced to make them anyway. The fault is 
not the scientists'. It is the whales', for in- 
habiting such avast, mysterious realm. 

Conservationists like to grumble about 
junking the IWC and starting from scratch. 
Then ihey remember— most of them— that 

<m The question is not whether 

the IWC can save 
whales. It is whether humans 

can organize to 

' save another mammal when 

they have so 

much difficulty organizing 

to save themselves.^ 

the IWC has protected, however tardily, the 
blue, gray, right, and humpback whales 
from commercial hunting. They remember 
that the science committee continues to 
improve its data and clout, that the quotas 
continue to drop. If the IWC goes, what will 
replace it? No future commission can be 
more benign toward whales than the na- 
tions thai make it up. The question is not 
whether the IWC can save whales. It is 
whether the Argentines, Americans, 
French, Icelanders, Mexicans, Dutch, 
British, Chileans, and Inupiat Eskimos oi 
Alaska can save such big, profitable ani- 
mals that wander so internationally. Can 
humans organize to save another mammal 
when they have so much difficulty organiz- 
ing to save themselves? 

There are a number of things to watch for 
this month. Environmentalists in the U.S. 
delegation are pushing for this country to 
place a commercial-whaling moratorium 
on the IWC agenda, and apparently they 
will succeed. The moratorium would be for 
an indefinite period, not the ten-year ver- 
sion that made a number of member na- 
tions uncomfortable when it was proposed 
several years ago. 

Both sides in the whaling debate con- 
tinue to try to pack the commission. The tiny 
nation of Seychelles, which is interested in 
establishing marine sanctuaries in its In- 
dian Ocean waters, is joining the anti- 
whaling contingent. The minor whaling na- 
tion of South Korea has joined the other 
side, and Peru and Chile are thinking of 
joining. The resulting new balance would 
look bad for the whales, except that Aus- 
tralia, a minor whaling nation, has just de- 
cided, in a study conducted by one of its 
justices, Sir Sidney Frost, that it should 
cease its whaling. The bias of the Austra- 
lian delegation should change markedly 
this year, providing a better balance in the 

The IWC's recent reduction of the 
sperm-whale quota in the North Pacific to 
zero has given environmentalists cause for 
optimism. "The feeling is," says one, "that 
the end of commercial whaling is imminent, 
if we just do it right." 

At this moment, in the perpetual sunlight 
of polar summer, somewhere in Ihe 
Beaufort Sea, a bowhead whale is rising to 
blow frostily. The ice pack has moved far 
offshore, and the plankton, In the 24 hours 
of daily sun, has bloomed wildly, turning the 
cold waters cloudy. The whale feeds round 
the clock. Bowhead paradise is seasonal, 
and this whale is in the middle of hers. 
She'll have few worries until October, when 
she and her diminished race will reverse 
their migration, making their way, once 
again, past those points of land from which, • 
for 4,000 years, the Inuit have watched for 

In the North Atlantic, right now. a minke 
whale is moving through the greenish wa- 
ters of the continental shelf off Newfound- 
land. In the dimness underwaler, the white 
service stripes on its pectoral fins show 
ghostly white. The minke is the smallest of 
the baleen whales, and one of the shiest, and 
its flukes are the most gracefully carved 
This minke is lucky. It was not one of ils 
2,552 fellows in fhe North Atlantic that the 
IWC allowed the catcher boats to take last 
year. If its luck holds, the quota will go down 
this year, and its number won't be called. 

In the North Pacific a bull sperm whale 
hyperventilates at the surface after a dive. 
The whale is fortunate in that the quota for 
his kind in the region was zero lasl year. If 
he is doubly fortunate, It will be zero once 
again this year. The whale shows his flukes 
and dives, leaving behind the bathtub- 
warm surface wafers. He goes down and 
dbwn-300, 600, 900 meters — and still 
down, into arctic cold and total darkness. 
He reels out the clicks of his sonar, until, on 
his inner screen, the blips of squid take 
shape. The chemistry of the bull's dive 
physiology, the source of sound production 
for his sonar, the function of his great sper- 
maceti organ, the thought processes of his 
enormous brain, are all mysteries to sci- 
ence. He focuses his acoustic powers on 
one squid, and its milky blip jumps into 
sharper relief. He gives chase. OQ 


?nay hold to chose oehds loday Alter all. it is 

•ell known thai if you o'ig a pesthole during 

Vie wrong phase of the moon, you won't 

have enough dirt when you go to (ill it up_ 

According to the Pennsylvania Dutch. 

iou should marry in the light of the moon, 

file time between the new moon and the 

I. The light of the moon is also a good 

e to press cider, but it you want wine, do 

":he dark of the moon. Trim your corns in 

e waning of the moon to keep them from 

growing too fast. !f you're short of cash, 

| don't let the moonlight shine into your 

purse, or you won't get any more money for 

*ie rest of the month, 

I Crops that grow aboveground should be 

p-anted between the new and the full moon. 

jnderground crops between the full moon 

:: "he l. .131 ouarter No crops shou d be 

panted in the last week of the cycle, To aid 

the memory, such instructions were often 

committed to poetry; 

5o plant the bean when the moon is light, 
And you will find that this is right; 
Pant the potato when the moon is dark, 
Arid to this line; you always hark. 
3ut if you vary from this rule. 
"feu will find you are a fool. 

Another belief was that when the moon's 
tioms pointed Upward, ii exerted an up- 
ward force. Thus it would hold back water, 

land rain wouldn't fall. When the- horns 
Dotnted downward, the water would fall out 
and it would rain. 

Everyone knows there is a man in the 
moon, though sometimes it is called the 
iady in the moon. The man was supposedly 
eantshed to the moon from Earth as 
punishment for gathering woo.d on the 

There is also a rabbit in the moon, and a 
6ee in the moon. Storytellers from Cana- 
dian Indians to Joel Chandler Harris have 
chronicled the rabbit's adventures. 

The ways people have devised of getting 
So the moon have been imaginative almost 
"i ""'- pom of k.nacy One inlrepid explorer 
"r-iji'ii oi having his ship pulled by mi grat- 
**g geese. Jules Verne had his men shot 
from a cannon in Florida, across the s;ale 
*cm where the Apollo rockets wo r c actually 
aunched a century later. One inventor had 
a steam-powered rocket. And Cyrano de 
3ergerac, cap, nose, and all, tried to reach 
ffie moon by the clever expedient of tying 
bottles of dew to his belt. As everyone 

[ knows, when morning comes, dew rises 
nto space. 

A bit of lunacy took over the readers of 
tie New York Sun in August 1835, when 

llney read that the astronomer John 
Herschel had discovered people (with 

j wings yet), animals, and forests on the 
moon. The hoax, designed to improve the 
paper's ailing circulation, actually did the 

; kick! 

The moon has been much praised in 
poetry; one favorite nursery rhyme that 
doesn't even mention the moon is really a 
moon poem: 

Jack and Jill went up the hill 

To fetch a pail of water 

Jack fell down and broke his crown, 

And Jill came tumbling after. 

The story of Jack and Jill mimics- the ac- 
tual phases of the moon. If you look at the 
face of the moon, you can find Jack, Jill, 
and the pail. As the moon becomes a wax- 
ing crescent, the pail appears first, the dark 
"sea" known as Mare Crisium. Then Jack 
appears and is completely "up the hill" by 
first quarter. His head is Mare Serenitatis, 
his body Mare Tranquillifa;is. and his logs 
are Mare Foecunditans and Mare Neclaris. 

Jill, somewhat less well outlined, ap- 
pears as the moon moves around to full; 
Mare Imbriunl is her head, and Mare 
Nubium and Mare Humorum are her feet. 
Then, after full moon, Jack "falls down" and 
disappears by last quarter. Jill comes tum- 
bling after. 

Many writers have used the moon as a 
device without any knowledge of its behav- 
ior. In H. Rider Haggard's King Solomon's 
Mines, an impossible sola' eclipse occurs 
less than a week trorn full moon, and there 
seems to be more than one full moon in a 
four-week span. The eclipse saved Ihe 
story's protagonists but didn't save 

gard from the wrath of astronomers when 
the book first appeared. 

Other impossibilities abound in car- 
toons. Look carefully and your will find many 
contradictions between the time of day and 
the location and. phase of the moon. This 
doubtless arises from the deplorable igno- 
rance of the sky most people display today 
We know less about the sky than did our 
ancestors of a century ago. Not a month 
goes by without a calier who asks anx- 
iously "I saw the moon out in the daytime. Is 
something wrong?" 

Another common mi scone op tier- is that 
the far side ot the moon and the dark side 
are the same. Even Comet-born Mark Twain 
didn'l know that this is true only once a 
month. Coleridge wrote of "one bright star 
within the nether tip," an impossibility, since 
the- moon is not transparent. But "the new 
moon . . . with the auld moon in her arm" is 
quite possible: The new moon here is the 
crescent, and the old moon is the dark por- 
tion of the lunar disk, faintly illuminated by 
sunlight reflected from Earth. 

This reminds us that moonshine, too. is 
jusl sunshine once removed, which recalls 
the story of a student who was asked which 
was more important, the mighty sun or the 
lowly moon. 

"Of course the moon is more important." 
came the reply. "The sun is out in the day- 
time, when it is already light, but the moon 
is out at night, when it is dark and we need 
the light." OO 

e as a surprise to you but I lihd Ihe whole idea o! extraterrestrial 
visitations absurd. " 



of a theater, smaller than Radio City Music 
Hall but with the same grandiose teel oi the 
days when movies were more of an event 
than a national pastime. Both the main 
lobby and the balcony feature bars where 
soda, beer, snacks, and sandwiches of 
pats' and sausage are available, and the 
seats are plush and comfortable. 

Under ordinary circumstances, attend- 
ing a film festival in such surroundings 
would have been a treat, but entering the 
Iheater on opening night, I was taken 
aback by the uproar. Used to the slaid, 
sophisticated audiences of the New York 
and Los Angeles film festivals, I was unpre- 
pared for the continuous noise and obnox- 
ious conduct of the crowd. It seemed more 
like a wrestling match than a film festival, 

Lionel Lehva, a young French critic who 
has attended all eight Paris festivals, of- 
fered this analysis: "People wait all year tor 
this event. It's a tradition. They don't just 
want to sit and watch the films when they 
get here. They come in order to shout and 
sing and throw things. It's like a rock-music 
festival, where the experience is more im- 
portant than the music. Of course, in the 
years when the films have been better there 
has been less noise, but when the films are 
bad, what else is there to do?" 

This proved true throughout the festival. 

When a good movie was screened, the au- 
dience behaved fairly normally But since 
that was rarely the case, the experience of 
the event was one of constantly coping with 
trouble instead of judging the films, Even 
when the films were of superior quality, one 
thing never ceased: the throwing of paper 
planes toward the screen. Perhaps a 
thousand or more were launched every 
night, though only a few actually reached 
their goal. "That's the big game here," 
Leriva said. "It is a great thing to have your 
plane reach the screen. Few of fhe films 
receive as much applause as any of the 
planes that manage to fly all the way in." 

Of the 10 shorts and 23 features shown, 
several merit particular attention: The most 
laughable films screened were Message 
from Space (Japan) and Star Crash (Italy), 
two Star Wars derivations that featured 
souped-up space ships, laser weaponry 
galactic empires, damsels in distress, 
robots, and outer-space "dogfights." 
Though neither would satisfy an American 
audience, they were, respectively, the 
opening-night and closing-night selections 
of the festival. Star Crash was awarded the 
public's prize as the most popular film. 

Two Italian films proved the most interest- 
ing of the non-American pictures at the 
galhering. The House of Laughing Win- 
dows , directed by Pupi Avati, was a haunt- 
ing mystery with supernatural overtones. A 
cross between Don't Look Now, Bad Day al 
Black Rock, and High Noon, the story told 


of a village's collusion in the cover-up of a 
series of grisly murders. The only serious 
non-English-language film at the festival, it 
was voted the critics' prize as best picture. 

Tobe Hooper's The Tex^as Chainsaw 
Massacre, touted last month in this column 
by Dan O'Bannorras the state of the art in 
horror films before Alien , was awaited with 
the greatest anticipation of any entry. Rec- 
ord crowds, estimated al 5,000 or more, 
were turned away, causing the first riot out- 
side. When the movie was shown, it turned 
out to be a heavily censored version, sorely 
disappointing the audience and almost 
provoking a second riot. 

The unqualified hits of the festival were 
both American fantasy/ SF/ horror films. 
George Romero's Zombie (U.S. title: Dawn 
oi the Dead), the grimly stunning sequel to 
his 1968 classic, Night oi the Living Dead, 
is only the second part of a Dead trilogy 
A chilling vision of a future where living 
corpses are gradually taking over the world, 
Zombie nearly got a standing ovation, 
prompting one critic lo quip, "Well, the au- 
dience finally has all the blood it wanted." 

The most important film shown at the fes- 
tival, winner of its grand prize and the best 
acting award (Jamie Lee Curtis, daughter 
of Janet Leigh and Tony Curtis), was John 
Carpenter's Halloween. It was chosen ear- 
lier this year as hssi film at France's Avoriaz 
Festival of Science Fiction. Its story of a 
mad killer on ;ha loose kept every viewer on 
the edge of his seat for two hours. Car- 
penter, codirector. cowriter, and compose; 
of the music for Dark Star (also mentioned 
here last month), has directed only three 
features. Halloween demonstrates his po- 
tential to become one of the leading Ameri- 
can directors of the 1980s. 

Unlike other international film conclaves, 
the Paris Festival of Science Fiction and 
Fantasy Films has always been intended 
as an audience event instead of as a jour- 
nalistic convention to drum up publicity for 
the pictures being screened. This is its 
strength, but also its weakness. Strength, 
because Schlockoff a responsible only lo 
his audience, but weakness, because an 
event of this size could influence the genre 
instead of merely living off it. 

Other SF festivals, in Avoriaz; Sitges, 
Spain; Trieste, Yugoslavia; and elsewhere, 
do not attract audiences in such numbers. 
Schlockoff is already planning on the ninth 
festival, scheduling it for this coming 
November instead of next winter. The fall is 
a better time for films that are due to be 
released. With Christmas ahead. Schlock- 
off will have a better chance at a wider 
selection, including more studio pictures. 

This will be the first Step toward making 
his event no! only the biggest but the best ■ 
festival in Europe. Now that he has found 
his audience, he needs publicity and pres- 
tige to raise the affair from a reunion of 
paper-plane hurlers to a viable survey of 
the current possibilities of the genre. 
Science-fiction films continue to proliferate. 
and this could be the showcase they need 
to gain recognition in the world market. DO 


how to make a hit record. It has a 1984 feel 
lo it, but it's reality. It's all in how it's used. 
WG're not trying to do anything but turn 
people on and make them happy. You want 
to hear Foreigner? Great. Here's Foreigner." 
Abrams shares a staff of 10 full-time and 
30 part-time researchers with his partner, 
Kent Burkhart, who programs Top 40, 
country and disco formats. This staff will 
be augmented for the firm's latest proj- 
ect—radio news for the national NBC 

Young as he is, Abrams, who opted for 
radio over college, has been conducting 
some of his research projects over a ten- 
year span, long enough to have developed 
a solid base' for projecting trends. The fact 
that people are retaining bass lines these 
days, rather than the complex chords the 
average American ear was clinging to a 
few years back, tells Abrams we're not lis- 
tening as closely. He concedes the differ- 
ences may have something to do with the 
way records are produced, but he leans 
toward his theory of the "natural evolution" 
of music in American life. 

Through an exhaustive study of music in 
America over the past 25 years Abrams 
has observed cyclical patterns of intensity 
and lull, each of which has its distinct musi- 
cal and cultural characteristics. 

For some time now we've been in a 
lull. This means that people stop listening 
and start dancing. A lull is apolitical; there 
are no major artistic advancements. The 
music literally fades into the back- 
ground, and producers play a very strong 

How is the current lull aftecting radio? 
Although they're using their radios just as 
much as ever, listeners are keeping the 
volume turned way down, This poses a 
problem for the programmers: How do you 
get people to stay tuned to one radio station 
they're not really listening to as opposed to 

That elusive factor called image has 
never been more important in maintaining 
listener loyalty, and to this end, Superstars 
stations are being encouraged to evolve 
toward what Abrams calls "eighteen- to 
ihirty-tour life-style radio." 

The responses to a million open-ended 
questionnaires filled out annually on the 
street, together with special investigations 
into the state of the art, enable Burkhart/ 
Abrams to feed client stations a wealth of 
data about who their listeners are— not just 
demographic breakdowns by absolutes, 
such as age. and sex, but far more sugges- 
tive "psychographic„profiles" based on 
behavior patterns; 

Such profiles not only detail the role of 
radio, music, and a variety of other leisure 
pursuits in an individual's life, but also ex- 
tend to his or her attitudes toward work, 
family, leisure, consumer goods, world 
affairs— even their own personal fears and 

deeply private and obsessional fantasies. 

John Parikhal. who prepares psycho- 
graphic analyses for Burkhart/Abrams, is 
a Canadian researcher and a former stu- 
dent of Marshall McLuhan but, according 
to Abrams, "not a MeLubanite." Parikhal's 
concerns are best illustrated by a sampling 
of his monthly memos, which Abrams 
passes on to client stations. 

"Time and the Body" is the title of one 
memo, and in it he discusses the effect of 
sunlight on the radio listener; he reminds 
the local researchers of the role played by 
perception when an individual answers a 
question containing the phrase How long 
...? Another memo elaborates the differ- 
ences in left-brain/right-brain recall of 
radio call letters — a iactor that influences 

In a third brief essay, simply called 
"Lists," Parikhal discusses contemporary 
insecurity: "Most people are uncertain of 
where they stand in life. They are not sure 
about their social status or their relation to 
many of the things and events of the world." 
He suggests that lists of all kinds, even 
old-fashioned record countdowns, appeal 
because they "provide an arbitrary or.real 
order to things and events." 

Elsewhere Parikhal goes into greater de- 
tail, noting evidence of "a massive emo- 
tional shift taking place among twenty- 
eight- to thirty-five-year-olds. . . . They are 
reevaluating life, career, and morality. It is 
causing incredible stress that has no focus. 
It is particularly severe in women. . . . The 
party mentality that prevails is masking the 
fact that more people than ever are actively 
looking for help." 

Parikhal thinks "this massive, unrecog- 
nized emotional crisis" can be turned to 
radio's advantage, and he urges stations to 
create an image of leadership. He reminds 
programmers that at this time "the hidden 
despair in much of the public is attracted 
by humor, uptempo rhythms, and a solid 
quality facade." 

How are such alarming and potent data 
used by a rock station? Abrams, certainly a 
mild-mannered, likable fellow himself, in- 
sists the application couldn't be more be- 
nign. "We just try to give the listeners 
exactly what they're into— a bit before ev- 
erybody's into it. Because music isn't very 
hot right now we're hitting other areas more 
and more. Home technology is a good 
example of something people are really in- 
terested in but don't know anything about. 
We've been betting on it with consumer 
features, hoping to spread that interest. 
People who have home video units, for 
example, love them. And the more people 
who get involved with, say, home video and 
remember the station as a source ot finding 
out about it, well, it's going to be good for 

And good for the public as well -or at 
least harmless— one is asked to assume. It 
gives one pause. 

Soon, when 1984 arrives, will Big Brother 
be watching us, or will we be listening to 
him? OQ 

On self-help 
an d awareness 


Marcus Kyypers, M.D.. Houston 

"I'd had enough of philosophy class 
i;i* ; r;^ii"^ I tva^- ':>> : rg !,:■■■ scr": a; 'i'iig io .- ; pp.y 
in both my professional and personal lite," 
says Marcus Kuypers. M.D. 

"A person I respected recommended 
Dane-lies li explained how human beings 
function and interact. It laid out techniques 

"Dianetics made 

me more alert, 

more alive." 

for handling psychosomatic illness, 

"I tried it and it worked. 

"I got rid of severe tension headaches. I 
was more alert, able to get more Df what I 
wanted from life. 

"1 had more ene'gy I oouio accomplish in a 
day what I would have oc; c'i' lor Iwo or three 
days before. 
Even my friends noticed I seemed more alive 

"Dianetics opened my eyes to the world 
around me. Because I feel good every day, I 
en|oy life and experience i: -ioie fully than 

Dianetics is the first effective science of the 
mind anyone can understand and use. 

Find out for yourself how Dianetics has 
helped so r own poten- 

Buy it. •ITT"? 

Read it. 
Use it. 

At your bookstore o 
order form below. 


Send me Dianetics: 

The Modern Science of Mental Health 
by L. Ron Hubbard 
Dept 0-3 

Publications Organization 

East AnriFjK 
Los Angeles, California 90029 



translated into a dozen languages and are 
sold throughout Europe. Though the phe- 
nomenon has not yet arrived in the States, 
entire shops in Paris have been given over 
to the sale of these books, and no Parisian 
librairie is complete without a shelf of comic 
art. With proper distribution, comic art 
could be equally popular in America. 


There has never been a French-pro- 
duced dramatic television series using SF 
as a central element. French television re- 
lies largely on the United States and Great 
Britain for such shows as The Man from 
Atlantis, The Invaders, and Space: 1999. 
This is one of the obstacles to be overcome 
if science fiction is ever to stand a chance 
of achieving popularity in France. If televi- 
sion were to provide SF programs on a 
regular basis, interest might be created. 

Star Trek, which brought quality science 
fiction into America's homes through ten 
years of continual syndication, has been 
bought for French TV But it has never been 
shown, because the government claims it 
is too violent for children to watch. Com- 
pounding the problem, while awaiting its 
release from political hassles, the show 
was dubbed in Canada. This means that if 
it were to be shown in France, the sound 

track would be somewhat disconcerting to 
French listeners. If it ever gets the green 
light, 'it will need to be redubbed. 

A monthly series, hosted by Robert 
Clarke, L'Avenir du Futur is a hybrid of film 
and talk show. A science-fiction film is 
shown to the home audience and a panel of 
experts. Those on the panel then discuss 
the scientific consequences of the pictuie. 
Unfortunately, in order to fit the whole pro- 
gram into a brief time slot, the films gener- 
ally are edited. The panel members cannot 
therefore fully understand what each of 
these films is about, and the audience is 
deprived of the pleasure of seeing an uncut 
movie. The series was canceled after a 
three-year run, leaving French television 
without any domestically produced regular 
SF programming. All that remains is the 
occasional teleplay or special. 

With television almost completely SF- 
free, the situation with movies proved a 
pleasant surprise. Two French-made, SF- 
related films were in release during my stay 
in Paris; an additional 40-odd SF and fan- 
tasy films were in first-run, subrun, or revi- 
val. The first-run showings included Su- 
perman, Battlestar Gaiactica, Magic, and 
Halloween (all from the United States). 
Werner Herzog's Ncsteratu (Germany), 
Star Crash and The Continent of the Fish- 
Men (Italy), Message from Space (Japan), 
and The Gendarme and the Extraterrestri- 
als and Ecoute-Voir (France). Impressive 
revivals of several classics, with beautiful 

prints, shown in fine theaters, included 
200?: A Space Odyssey, The Time Ma- 
chine, A Clockwork Orange, Around the 
World in Eighty Days, F W. Murnau's Nos- 
feratu (1923), an uncut print of The Fearless 
Vampire Killers, and Young Frankenstein. 

The Gendarme and the Extraterrestrials 
is the latest in aseries of gendarme movies. 
low comedies about some policemen in the 
South of France. The gendarme films fea- 
ture Louis de Funes, who also appeared in 
The Mad Adventures of Rabbi Jacob. The 
Gendarme and the Extraterrestrials com- 
bines the unsophisticated humor of the 
Three Stooges and the "Carry On" films 
with a typical 1950s aliens-invade-Earth 
plot. Perhaps it was the laughable but 
clever grade-C special effects, or the 
charm of De Funes, or even the very idea of 
having the film's flying saucer built by 
France's leading aerospace company, but 
it proved rather amusing. 

Having failed to appreciate current 
French SF films, I went to see 17 short 
movies made by Georges Me'lies, the first 
master of fantasy and science-fiction films. 
Made in France before the sound era, 
these movies displayed an imagination that 
very few films loday possess. People dis- 
appeared, objects moved about the screen 
through stop-motion animation, and the 
crowd that packed the side-street theater 
had a wonderful time. 

It was then that l realized the basic prob- 
lem with contemporary French science fic- 
tion. I had talked with a dozen prominent 
people, seen 30 films with a screaming au- * 
dience, and spent many hours trying to 
learn why the two never met, why there was 
so little crossover between readers and 
filmgoers. Now it all seemed clear. Fantasy 
and science-fiction films are fun, and they 
furnish an enjoyable experience. Gallic 
taste in science-fiction literature, however, 
is very serious, pondering ihe mysteries of 
our universe, with all its sociopolitical impli- 
cations laid bare. Readers want_ answers, 
while filmgoers wan! escape. !hey both 
use SF as a means to their goals. 

Since World War II France has gone 
through difficult times. It has been a 
shamed country since the surrender in 
1940, and it has subsequently fought a 
series of lost wars, which led to the dissolu- 
tion of its empire. There have been many 
strikes, revolutions, and riots, and too many 
governments. There hasn't been time to 
look forward, to speculate on a rosy future, 
except through imported films and books. 

That part. of the audience that has em- 
venture comics, is young and uneducated. 
The readers of serious SF literature are more 
aware of the troubles that surround them. 
Yet they escape into books, reading sto- 
ries about circumstances more depressing 
than their own. Both groups are ultimately 
seeking the same solution, but they take 
opposite roules in their quest. French 
science fiction ultimately emerges as a 
schizoid whole, its opposite parts making 
an ongoing, if limited, market possible. DO 


By Patrick Moore 

I ^^ I hen I first began to take a real 

I I interest in astronomy, which 
U KJ was in 1929, 1 had heard a 
great deal about "empty space," The 
general idea was that as soon as one 
ventured beyond Earth's atmosphere, a 
few tens of miles over our heads, there 
was absolutely nothing there! It was a total 
vacuum— not an atom within range. A 
complete void! 

Although the idea of empty space had 
been disputed long before, it was really 
disproved by the work of a German 
astronomer named Hartmann, in 1904. He 
was looking at the spectrum of the star 
Mintaka, in Orion's belt, when he noticed 
something very curious that his 
predecessors had overlooked. 

But before going any further, perhaps I 
had better pause to say something about 
stellar spectra themselves. Just as a 
telescope collects light, so a 
spectroscope splits it up. When the light of 
a normal star is refracted through the 
spectroscope, it is split into bands of color 
that are separated by dark lines. The 
spectrum formed carries the distinctive 
trademarks of the chemical elements that 
make up the star If you see two bright 
yellow lines close together in a 
characteristic position, you may be quite 
sure that the star contains the element 

Next, let us consider the Doppler effect, 
named in honor of the Austrian physicist 
Christian Doppler, who first drew attention 
loit in 1842. If a star is moving away from 
us, the wavelength of its light is slightly 
lengthened. All the lines in its spectrum 
are shifted over to the red, or long-wave, 
end of the rainbow. If the star is moving 
toward us, the shift is to the blue, or 
short-wave. end. An example, would bethe 
change in pitch of the horn in a passing 
car. The pitch produced by a horn in a car 
moving away from us would be lower than 
it would be in a car moving toward us. 

Hartmann looked carefully at the dark 
lines in the spectrum of Mintaka and found 
that some of them did not exhibit the 
Doppler shift of the overall spectrum. The 
reason was obvious. The immovable lines 
did not belong to the star at all, They were 

caused by clouds of material in space, 
between the star and Earth, that absorbed 
some of the stellar light. 

Hartmann was, of course, quite right, 
and the study of interstellar material 
began in earnest. As more sophisticated 
methods of investigation were developed, 
it became possible to identify some of the 
interstellar substances. Hydrogen proved 
to be particularly plentiful, and it became 
obvious that hydrogen is the most 
abundant substance in the universe, as 
had long been suspected. 

There have recently been new 
discoveries. Between the stars, we find not 
only single atoms but also simple 
molecules. Then came the revelation that 
even organic molecules are present. This 
discovery came as a real surprise to many 
astronomers, but the results left no room 
for doubt. 

One of these interstellar molecules is 
our old friend ethyl alcohol. Astronomers 
surveyed an inconspicuous star cloud in 
the constellation Sagittarius, near the 
center of the galaxy and estimated that it 

Alcohol pervades Orion's Great Nebula. 

contained enough ethyl alcohol to make 
more whiskey than Homo sapiens has 
distilled throughout the history of 

'Ah," I can imagine some people saying, 
"another reason for going into space. We 
can scoop in parts of the interstellar cloud 
and regale ourselves with whiskey 
throughout the journey." Unfortunately, 
nothing co.uld be further from the truth, 
The interstellar clouds are unbelievably 
tenuous, less dense than the most perfect 
laboratory vacuum we can produce. This 
is true even of the "thicker" clouds— the 
bright nebulas, such as Messier 42 in the 
sword of Orion. If you could take a bucket 
and plow through the Orion Nebula, 
scooping in material steadily, the amount 
collected would weigh less than a billiard 
ball does. 

Tenuous as they are, these interstellar 
clouds are of fundamental importance in 
astronomy Visible nebulas are places in 
which new stars are being born. Invisible 
clouds probably contain a large part of the 
mass in the universe as a whole, much 
more than the stars themselves. 

Some scientists have suggested that life 
began not on Earth at all but in space, 
then was brought here either by a 
meteorite or. according to Sir Fred Hoyle, 
by a comet. Indeed. Hoyle and his 
colleague Chandra Wickramasinghe 
believe thai materials as complex as 
cellulose form spontaneously In interstellar 
space. To most people, this hypothesis 
raises more difficulties than it solves, but 
we cannot rule it out. The presence of 
organic molecules between the stars 
makes it seem less farfetched than it 
would otherwise be. 

Research is going on energetically, and 
new interstellar molecules are being 
discovered with amazing rapidity I think 
that the discovery of ethyl alcohol is 
particularly fascinating. Poets have often 
rhapsodized about "the spirit in space." 
Well, the spirit is there— even if not in quite 
the form that the poets meant. Many 
astronomers think this interstellar material 
indicates whether the universe will expand 
forever or will collapse, causing another 
big bang. DO 


■j^-T-jUED! -■':*<' rvwf :>: 

held in Toronto, Two UFO investigators. Dr. 
Alvin Lawson and John De Herrera, and Dr. 
McCall .carefully selected a number of 
volunteer subjects, tested for their lack of 
familiarity with the UFO subject. No one 
who "had ever had" a sighting or who knew 
much about the subject was used. Under a 
hypnotic trance, each volunteer was told to 
imagine that he was being abducted by a 
UFO. The volunteers were provided with a 
scenario, including "medical examination" 
and possible physiological and psychic 
aftereffects. What concerned these inves- 
tigators were the details developed by the 
"abductees." Would they be dry and color- 
less? Would the subjects have to be 
prodded every step of the way? 

To the researchers' amazement, all the 
hypnotized volunteers provided tales virtu- 
ally indistinguishable from the "real" ab- 
duction accounts in the UFO literature in 
terms of imagination, patterns, richness of 
detail, and facility of recounting. Yet critics 
have noted that in "real" abduction 
scenarios no one is asked to invent any- 
thing, nor is any outline of events provided. 
Furthermore, "real" abductees frequently 
display strong emotional reactions to un- 
derscore their relived experiences. McCall 
has counterargued that, in a heightened 
state ot suggestibility, a hypnotized subject 
(desiring to piease ihe hyor.olist) is acutely 
aware of cues, even nonverbal ones (e.g., 
body language, voice inflections). Strong 
emotional reactions toward nightmares do 
not underscore their physical reality. Still 
the point is taken: Mo controlled experiment 
like this can be an exact replication of the 
regression of "real" abductees. 

Yet how else could the accuracy of 
UFOIogical applications of hypnosis be 
checked? In my own roje as chief inves- 
tigator for the Center for UFOStudies. 1 
have sometimes envisioned setting up a 
phony UFO for a hapless victim, drugging 
him into unconsciousness, and later hyp- 
notizing him to see how he accounted for 
his "lost period of memory" following the 
sighting. Unethical, certainly, but what 
were the alternatives? 

Then on July 14, 1978. an alternative op- 
tion presented itself. I was contacted by a 
forty-three-year-old woman on Long Island, 
New York, who had undergone a "quasi- 
abduction." She went outdoors at 12:30 
a.m., and her attention was immediately at- 
tracted by a whirring noise. Looking up, 
she saw a saucer "twenty feet in diameter" 
hovering low over her house, she said. 
Hundreds of white lights were arranged 
underneath it, and a red dome light was 
seen blinking on top of the craft. She could 
hear humming and whirring noises. As ihe 
woman watched in amazement, a red 
beam shone down from the UFO and 
paralyzed her. She was still standing on her 
front doorstep. Within her mind, a deep 
voice asked her, 'Are you afraid?" 

136 OMNI 

The woman replied menially "No, I'm not. 
I never believed in this." 

"Do you believe now?" they queried. 

"Yes, I do." 

This telepathic discussion took place in 
only a few minutes. The witness asked 
questions of her own, such as "What planet 
are you from?" and "Why don't you land 
here right now?" While she felt cer.tain that 
these questions were answered, she had 
lost all conscious memory of the UFOnauts' 
replies. When the UFOnauts removed the 
paralyzing beam and continued on their 
way— to the northeast— the woman could 
see a message spelled out in the lights in 
block letters. It appeared to read "FAIL TO" 
or "FULL TO," but she wasn't sure. She ran 
across the street, screaming for a neighbor 
to come out; when the neighbor did come 
out, the UFO was too distant to be seen 

During my phone conversation with the 
witness, she sounded as articulate, seri- 
ous, good-natured, and sincere as any of 

♦ She saw a saucer hovering 

low over her house, 

hundreds of white lights 

underneath and a red 

' dome light blinking on top. 

A red beam paralyzed 

her, and a deep voice asked, 

"Are you afraid?" 9 

the hundreds of UFO witnesses with whom 
I have spoken. "People look at you like 
you're crazy, but, believe me," she said, "I 
know what I experienced. This is not some- 
thing that one dreams up out of a clear blue 
sky. I am not the type of person to go 
around telling stories that do not occur. . . ." 

Because of her description of the white 
and red lights and the message that they 
spelled, I called all the nighttime adver- 
tising-plane companies in the New York 
area. Experience with hundreds of previ- 
ous cases based on poorly seen ad planes 
has long since revealed them to be excel- 
lent "Rorschach inkblot" tests of the degree 
to which UFO witnesses anticipate how 
UFOs are "supposed" to look and behave. 
The intense emotional reactions exhibited 
by witnesses of such aerial messages rival 
those expressed toward the best UFO 
cases, too. 

But who would be advertising anything 
over Long Island at 12:30 a.m.? The Brook- 
lyn School of Aviation, that's who. One of its 
planes was flying above the town where the 
woman lived. : And the message being 
spelled out by the white lights underneath 

LANTIC CITY" (Italics mine.) At last, the 
perfect hypnosis experiment. What would 
such a person, who sincerely believed that 
she had undergone such an experience, 
say under hypnosis? Would she tell the 
same story? 

I hired a professional clinical hypno- 
therapist in practice near New York City to 
perform the regression. I spoke with him at 
length to make sure that he had no particu- 
lar bias, pro or con, about the UFO subject. 
Furthermore, in order to prevent his per- 
formance from being negatively biased, I 
didn't tell him that I knew what had stimu- 
lated the woman's "experience." 

The result? Exactly the same story was 
told under hypnosis as before, with no new 
information added; the woman still couldn't 
remember what planet the visitors had 
come from, and other details were vague. 
Taking a test tor hypnotic susceptibility, 
having a range from to 5, she scored a 
soft 2. Her description given under hyp- 
nosis was related in the past tense, reveal- 
ing that she was not genuinely reliving the 
event, only recollecting it. This fact didn't 
surprise the hypnotherapist; he said that 
only 5 percent to 10 percent of the popula- 
tion can be truly time-regressed; his prem- 
ise had never been stressed in previous 
abduction regressions. One can only sur- 
mise how many previous such sessions 
had been similarly vitiated by memories or 
subconscious fantasies. 

Something else of interest: Our UFO "de- 
tainee" claimed to have experienced a > 
physiological aftereffect following her ex-* 
perience, a feeling of nausea. Returning 
home after reliving the incident hypnoti- 
cally, she again felt nauseous. 

Why would an otherwise normal indi- 
vidual react in such a bizarre way to an 
advertising plane? I had the therapist pro- 
vide her with a Minnesota Multiphasic Per- 
sonality Inventory, a simple, computer- 
graded examination useful in revealing 
psychoses. The results of the test were de- 
scribed by him as "far removed from the 
report one would get from a psychologi- 
cally well person." The report concluded 
that she exhibited "childish demands for 
attention," that "suicide attempts are a 
possibility," and that she was strikingly 
"overconcerned about her bodily functions 
and physical health. She may experience 
... generalized aches and pains without 
clear organic etiology." This may explain 
her recurring nausea. 

Further developments on this case will 
be published in the International UFO Re- 
porter, the monthly newsletter available 
from the Center for UFO Studies, Evanston, 
Illinois. Already it is safe to conclude that 
UFO abduction tales plucked from the ■ 
subconscious may have more to do with a 
new technological mythology than with true 
close encounters. OQ 

Mr. Hendry is chief investigator lor the Cen- 
ter for UFO Studies and author of the forth- 
coming book The UFO Handbook, due 
from Doubleday & Co. in August. 



By, Dave Dooling 

Ten years ago this month an 
awesome Saturn 5 rocket 
thundered off its launchpad and 
ferried three astronauts to the moon. Today 
you can still time your vacation to catch an 
old-fashioned blastoff, but within a few 
years all expendable rockets will be 
replaced by a reusable spaceliner The 
National Aeronautics and Space 
Administration (NASA) has only a 
half-dozen launches of expendable 
rockets planned for the rest of 1 979, and 
about as many for 1980. After that the 
leftovers will be destined for museums. 

The main launch facility is at Cape 
Canaveral, Florida; even without launches 
the cape is magnificent for space buff and 
neophyte alike. Actually, the cape is two 
facilities: Cape Canaveral Air Force Station 
and Kennedy Space Center. 

It was at the Air Force station that the 
United States first concentrated its efforts 
to catch up with the Soviet Union's space 
program. This station has most of the 
launch sites for NASA, military, and 
commercial rockets. On a clear day from. 
Cocoa Beach you can see this amazing 
stretch of launchpads, known as 
Gantry Row. 

The Kennedy Space Center is the 
moonport, located on Merritt Island and 
built solely to launch the massive Saturn 5 
moon rocket with its Apollo spacecraft. It 
is now being modified to handle the space 
shuttle. Signs on U.S. 1 and 1-95 lead to 
Gate 3, where the visitors' information 
center is located. Several lecture halls are 
here, along with movies, exhibits, and a 
minimuseum dealing with spaceflight, 
featuring the Gemini 9 and Apollo 13 
spacecraft. Outside, the sun glints off 
such rockets as Gemini-Titan, Mercury- 
Atlas, a full-scale model of the lunar mod- 
ule, and Swing Arm 9— the last six meters 
of ramp that astronauts crossed before 
boarding the craft bound for the moon. 

The Kennedy visitors' center, open every 
day except Christmas from 8 a.m. to 
sunset, is also the point of departure for a 
bus tour that takes in the flight-crew 
training building, launchpads, and the 
cavernous Vehicle Assembly Building 
fVAB). Over 50 stories high and enclosing 

3.87 million cubic meters, the VAB is 
where the enormous components of 
Saturn 5 were assembled. Shuttle 
hardware is now in the VAB, but NASA has 
sealed off the visitors' pen on the grounds 
that solid-fuel rocket segments present too 
great a safety hazard to the public. Letters 
to your congressman, however, might get 
the Vehicle Assembly Building reopened. 

After the Space Center, the tour moves 
on to Gantry Row Here you get a close 
look at the launchpads, although many of 
the historic ones have been torn down. The 
main stop is at the Air Force Space 
Museum, built where Explorer 1 and later 
Alan-Shepard began their journeys into 
space. Scattered about the site are 
dozens of launchers and guided missiles, 
and the blockhouse that controlled the ■ 
Shepard launch. 

During the tour of Gantry Row the bus 
may take a detour if "the range is 
hot"— that is, ready for a launch. After the 
tour, though, you can still get a good view 
of the rocket launch itself from the 
beaches or from the road leading into the 
south gate at Port Canaveral. (See the 
schedule of launch dates on page 138.) 


De!ta-143 launch Irom Kennedy Space Cei 

If you want a foretaste of what it will be 
like to ride the shuttle into space, try the 
Alabama Space and Rocket Center. This 
delightful blend ot museum and 
amusement park is in Huntsville, 
Alabama— a town that went from cotton 
mill to Rocket City within a ten-year span. 
The rocket center is on Highway 20, just 
south of the Tennessee state line, and 
except for Christmas is open year-round 
from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. (6 p.m. in July and 
August). Look for the Saturn 1B at the 
welcome center. 

Quite properly billed as the earth's 
largest space museum, it has many 
hands-on displays designed to make 
space a personal experience. Exhibits 
include Mercury, Gemini, and Apollo 
spacecraft, Spacelab, the Space 
Telescope, and a forest of rockets ranging 
in size from the V-2 to the Saturn 5. But the 
center of attention is Miss Baker, a tiny 
squirrel monkey whose brief hop into 
space in 1959 paved the way for man, 
Although her mate. Big George, recently 
died, Miss Baker is still going strong at 
age 22. She was recently remarried— by a 
judge no less— to five-year-old Normal 
Norman, of the Yerkes Primate Institute. 

The three amusement park rides are 
Shuttle Spaceliner, Space Walk, and Lunar 
Odyssey. The Spaceliner uses a portion of 
a Boeing 737 fuselage to simulate a 
passenger module on a five-minute ride 
into space that features a rendezvous with 
a space station. The Space Walk has 
counterbalanced arms to let you float for a 
few seconds between steps at one lunar 
gravity (one sixth that of the earth). And 
the Lunar Odyssey is a giant centrifuge 
that presses you into your seat with the 
force of two gravities during part of a 
simulated trip around the moon. 

From the Alabama Space and Rocket 
Center you can lake a bus tour to the 
nearby Marshall Space Flight Center. 
where the future of space— via the 
shuttle— is taking shape. Here you can 
walk through a full-scale mock-up of the 
Skylab space station and see the 
4.94-million-liter neutral-buoyancy 
simulator: a deep pool of clear water in 
which astronauts rehearsed space 

s to save Skylab in 1973. Today 
the simulator is helping astronauts prepare 
ways to build mile-wide structures in 
space. Another stop in the tour is at test 
stands, where rocket stages were once 
fired without, leaving the ground. 

NASA's most famous control center is 
the Johnson Space Center, in Clear Lake 
City five miles south of Houston, Texas. 
Although this center is now busily 
preparing for the space-shuttle era, the 
past is not ignored. The visitors' center has 
a lecture hall and a minimuseum that 
traces the history of manned spaceflight, 
with a delightful film clip on the legacy of 
Skylab that conveys the exhilaration and 
the wonder of weightlessness. Walking 
tours take you through Mission Control, a 
full-scale mock-up of Skylab, and the 
world's largest vacuum chamber (featured 
in the film Future World). The public is 
welcome from 9 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. 

If you are still eager to see more, visit the 
Goddard Space Flight Center in 
Greenbelt, Maryland. There you are 
guided through satellite-control centers, 
can make a telephone call to the next 
phone booth through the intermediacy of a 
satellite link, and participate in monthly 
model-rocket competitions. Goddard is 
open Wednesday through Sunday from 
10 A.M. to 4:30 P.M. 

While on the East Coast, drop into the 
Langley Research Center in Hampton, 
Virginia, where NASA's predecessor— the 
National Advisory Center for Astronautics 
(NACA)— was established in 1918. 
Langley was responsible for the Viking 
project, which orbited and landed 
spacecraft on Mars in 1976 to investigate 
.geology and life. Today Langley's visitors' 
center includes Viking and Apollo 
spacecraft and the lunar landing 
simulator The city of Hampton also 

features an Aerospace Park with missiles 
and spacecraft. 

Finally, you won't want to miss the 
National Air and Space Museum on the 
Mall in Washington, D.C. This branch of the 
Smithsonian Institution started with a gift 
of Chinese kites in 1878 and today draws 
more visitors than any other museum in 
Washington. (The aviation section of the 
museum was described in the December 
1978 Explorations column.) 

Major space artifacts range from one of 
Robert Goddard's early rockets and the 
Apollo n command module (both 
enshrined in the "Milestones of Flight" 
Hall) to maps and food tubes used by the 
astronauts. You can take a walking tour 
through the biggest exhibit, the backup 
Skylab in which astronauts lived and 
worked in space for up to three months. 

The largest space artifacts are on view 
in the Space Hall and the East Hall. Other 
space galleries include life in the universe, 
satellites, rocketry and spaceflight, the 
results from Project Apollo, and the Albert 
Einstein Spacearium, a bicentennial gift 
from West Germany. There is also the 
south entrance, graced by artist Bob 
McCall's sweeping interpretation of 
creation and man's future in the cosmos. 

Hard-core space buffs may additionally 
want to visit the museum's restoration 
facility at Silver Hill, Maryland, where still 
more artifacts are on display 
- Six other space centers around the 
country are also open to the public. Briefly 
described, they are the: 
■ Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, 
California, where missions to the planets 
are controlled. Guided tours last two and a 
half hours, and open house is held the last 
Sunday of each month from 1 p.m. to 5 p.m. 
Children under twelve are not allowed. Call 
213-354-2337 for more information. 

• Ames Research Center in Mouniain 
View, California, just south of San 
Francisco, center of planetary science 
and aeronautical research. Call 

■ Lewis Research Center, Cleveland, 
Ohio, directed at advancing technology 
for aircraft and rocket propulsion. Call 

■ Wallops Flight Center, Wallops Island, 
Virginia, home of sounding rockets and 
aeronautics. Call 804-824-3411. 

■ National Space Technology • 
Laboratories, Bay St. Louis, Mississippi, 
center for the space-shuttle engine tests 
and remote-sensing satellite research. 
Call 601-688-3341. 

• Dryden Flight Research Center at 
Edwards Air Force Base, Edwards, 
California. Call 805-258-3311.OO 


This schedule is deliberately vague 
because launch times freguently slip, 
sometimes from day to day. To get spe- 
cific dates as the month approaches, 
call 1-301-867-2050 or, in Florida, call 

Air Force launches are rarely an- 
nounced, but both Air Force and NASA 
launches are posted on the front page of 
the newspaper Cocoa Today. 

Note: Many rockets are launched at 
night to reduce the heat load when cool- 
ing off cryogenic fuels. Hotels in the 
Cape Canaveral area will frequently ring 
all their phones just before a launch. If 
that happens, rise and watch the best 
light show of your life. 

July: Westar-C communications satel- 
lite atop a Delta rocket; launch from 
Cape Canaveral. 

August; Intelsat 5A communications 
satellite atop an Atlas Centaur; Cape 

September: High Energy Astronomy 
Observatory C atop an Atlas Centaur; 
Cape Canaveral. 

Plus: Magsat magnetic survey salek 
lite atop a Scout; Vandenberg AFB, 

October Solar Maximum Mission 
solar observatory atop a Delta; Cape 

Plus; Navy 21 atop a Scout; Vanden- 

November; Intelsat 5B communica- 
tions satellite atop an Atlas Centaur; 
Cape Canaveral. 

Plus: first space shuttle test; Cape 
Canaveral (will probably slip to Decem- 

December: NOAA-B weather satellite 
atop an Atlas F; Vandenberg. 

Plus: RCA-C communications satel- 
lite atop a Delta; Cape Canaveral. 

Dave Dooling is science editor of the 
Huntsville Times, specializing in space 




i / 

ii. V 




'' l\ 

exception: the Ayers Rock, f-.^.v, ..,. 
'"'-meters from the nearest town, the n 
i a height of 34a 
?.5 kilometers long 
and 1.5 kilometers wide — roughly the size 
of 25 football fields laid end to end. 
The Ayers Rock is the second- largest 

d only by Mount 

ed by the aboriginal t , ... 

egions surrounding it. Caves at the 
base of the rock, decorated with aboriginal 

t the Ayers Rock for 
Omni and took this photograph with a 
- c -amera and Kodachrome 25.DQ 


<jov -i.-'-r -r-K.-iMi-AGi. 

("Please feel free 1o smoke, Mr. Stuckey"); 
and thai he is not a scientist or intelligence 
professional, but a Chapel Hill, North 
Carolina, lawyer and former county prose- 
cutor You see that trap jaw and hear the 
accent and you think of those relaxed rural 
DA.s who might say, "Now, Jake, we know 
you killed your wife. So don't go lyin' about 
it. Jus! get your story togefher while I go get 
you a cup of coffee." 

The other Charlie Rose, however, is a 
protege of Terry Sanford, the former south- 
erly liberal governor of North Carolina, 
ex-university president, and a once- 
hopeful entrant into Democratic presiden- 
tial primary elections — which attracted "all 
the bright young Southern liberals like 
Charlie Rose," and not one veteran Capitol 
observer. Elected to Congress in 1972, 
Rose made a key early commitment to 
support O'Neill for House majority leader. 
Tip, now speaker of the House, considers 
Charlie one of his key Southern lieutenants, 
one who doesn't mind doing the necessary 
but dirty and no-publicity-value jobs that 
keep Congress functioning. The House In- 
telligence Committee (chaired by another 
of Tip's buddies, Massachusetts Repre- 
sentative Edward Boland) is one super job, 
since most of its hearings are closed to the 
life-giving (to congressmen) press and 

don't have much effect on the constituents 
back home. 

There are two more Charlie Roses that 
don't fit country stereotypes. One is the 
Rose who is the House's acknowledged 
expert on computers, according to Gary 
Hymel, the speakers right hand man. And 
Rose is founder of Capitol Hill's most Mofo 
activity, the Congressional Clearinghouse 
on the Future — "the science-fiction wing 
of Congress," according to a science-ori- 
ented congressman. 

The Mofo aspect of the clearinghouse is 
detected in the pages of its fascinating 
monthly newsletter, "What's Next?" There 
one finds the news and views of the L-5 
space colony people, the anarchistic ap- 
propriate technology of wondrous Karl 
Hess, the soft-energy boys, the worker- 
owned-corporation boosters, the cosmic- 
consciousness kids, and the Committee for 
the Elimination of Death. Under its imagin- 
ative director Ann Cheatham, the clearing- 
house also holds its monthly "Chautauqua 
Congress"— think-and-talk sessions with 
both "futures," and more conventional, ex- 
perts, who produce recommended legisla- 
tion with a longer-than-usual-term twist. 
(For She remainder of the year Chautauqua 
will deal with future housing; "soft" appro- 
priate technology vs. "hard" conventional 
technology; the scientific nature of life, in- 
cluding genetic manipulation; the future 
spcial culture; and even "cosmic con- 

You ask how good c:e Cha'He Rose was 
moved to lead the Mofo prophets? Well, he 
is yef another convert to Alvin Toffler. the 
respected futurist-author of Future Shock, 
Toffler convinced Rose that Congress was 
playing Russian roulette with the future by 
ignoring it in most-of its legislation. He in- 
troduced Rose to that growing think-tank 
industry of futurology, which, according to 
one (of several conflicting) definitions, uses 
available information and mixes in hunches 
and personal theories to predict what is 
going to happen in crucial and vital areas. 
In 1974 Congress passed an internal act 
requiring its committees to conduct 
periodic futures research, and by 1976 
Rose and Cheafham were sending the 
House a stream of both close-in and 
farthest-out futurists to prophesy what lay 
in store for all of us. 

Today the clearinghouse functions as a 
"caucus," not an official congressional 
committee, but rather an informal Hill- 
based activity financed by contributions 
from interested members of Congress and 
other supporters. Many Senate luminaries 
are firmly behind the project. 

Though it can't yet claim many legislative 
victories, Rose's clearinghouse-- in con- 
junction with Rose's hearings on psychic 
intelligence gathering — will no doubt lead 
to some of the oddest debates, most 
astounding legislation, and weirdest wit- 
nesses in congressional history. California 
has set up shop on Capitol Hill.OO 




9-0 *m0f* 

Would it be worth o thousand dollars ... a million? Could you even put a price on 
if? Now, with OMNI, the magazine of tomorrow on sale today you can! And the 
price is right! In the knowledge that there's so much to know learn, do and enjoy 
and so little time, were helping hurry you into the twenty-first century without mis- 
sing any of the wonders of the twentieth. We're a concise package . . . light and 
heavy , . , fantasy and fact We cover the past, present and especially the future. 
Your future. Bargain on it. Get involved. You can easily afford to [only $18 for a one- 
year subscription). Can you afford not to? 

_ — .- 


OMNI Subscription Dept, 
P.O. Box 908, 
Farmingdale, N.Y 11737 

Yes I want to get involved and t wont to save 
S6 on the newsstand price. Here's my □ 
check □ money order of S18 for o one- 
year subscription (12 issues]. 


Competition #4 

Brought us limericks galore 

By Scot Morris 

From the rooftops our 4th challenge went: 
"Send limericks!" 4,000 were sent. 

We hated to pass 'em oft 

But finally asked Asimov 
To help pick the best 1 %. 

This competition brought far more 
responses than any other. We should have 
anticipated that. As one reader warned;: 
"Since limericks are more of a compulsion 
than an art form, I predict you will be 
swamped with limericks." 

We were. We read about the clone who 
wasn't alone, about the laser that didn't 
faze her, and about several men named 
Romney who read this magazine and 
suffer from insomni. 

After we sorted nearly 4,000 limericks 
into WO, MAYBE , and YES piles, there 
were 500 entries in the YES pile— more 
than ten times the number we could print. 
Further sortings reduced the pile to 200, 
then 150, then 100. At this point an 
advanced case of limerickitis set in— a 
condition in which the victim cannot read 
or hear any English sentence without 
compulsively rhyming it. We called Isaac 
Asimov, author of Lecherous Limericks 
(1975), More Lecherous Limericks (1976), 
Stiil More Lecherous Limericks (1977), 
and Limericks: Too Gross (1978) as well 
as of several works of nonpoetry, for 
suggestions on the final gleaning. From 
a typed selection of 100, without names, 
Dr. A. picked 50 favorites. 

When we found out how many limericks 
we'd be able to print in this issue, we 
consulted again with America's one-man 
Book-of-the-Month Club in choosing the 
most publishable finalists. We weighed 
factors of rhyme, scansion, cleverness, 
humor, apparent originality, and 
appropriate Omni flavor, and eventually 
agreed on this selection. 


If, inside a circle, aline 

Hits the center and runs spine to spine, 

And the line's length is D, 

The circumference will be 
D times 3.14159. 

—Arthur Stock, Westfield, N.J. ($100) 

144 OMNI 


To bear offspring, Noah's snakes were 

Their fertility was somewhat unstable. 
He constructed a bed 
Out of tree trunks and said, 
"Even adders can multiply on a log table." 
-Sarah Fullton, Mobile, Ala. ($25) 

Equations when spoken will sound, 
To youngsters, in class, quite profound. 
But you may get a stare 
When you say 7rr s , 
for they all know that Mom's pies are 
round I 
—Robert P. Warns, Alabaster Ala. (£25) 

A young sports-car driver named Breen 
Had the fastest machine on the scene. 

He drove fast as light, 

And with no cops in sight 
He'd blueshift the red lights to green. 

—Timothy Cowden. Bryan, Tex. ($25) 


"Can't you fools see where this is all 

This nightmare of selective breeding?" 

He spat on the ground 

And then turned around 
And continued on with his weeding. 

— Jeanine Carr, Youngstown, N.Y ($25) 

A renowned archaeologist Vern, 
Who unearthed an Egyptian clay urn, 
Found himself devastated 
When the markings, translated, 
Clearly read, "No Refill/No Return." 

— G. A. Ludwig, Crown Point, Ind. ($25) 

The voice from the UFO cried. 

"To the smartest we'll give a free ride!" 

Several men volunteered, 

But the ship disappeared 
With a whale and two dolphins inside. 
-Burl Ross, Lake Oswego. Oreg. (£25) 


Her voice is so high it's absurd; 

It's so shrill thai you. can't hear a word. 
When she's got something to say, 
She starts running away, 

So the pitch drops enough to be heard. 

— Steve Offner, Pittsburgh, Pa. ($25) 

Salutations to Arthur C. Clarke, 
Who's constantly hitting the mark. 

He has a class act 

In both fiction and fact, 
And he gives off more charm than a quark. 

- Hugh Downs, New York, N.Y. ($25) 

First, let me explain that I'm cursed; 
I'm a poet whose time gets reversed. 

Reversed gets time 

Whose poet a I'm 
Cursed I'm that explain me let first. 

— Brad Williams, Coventry Conn. ($25) 


To Rigel a beam was projected. 
Years passed; a reply was detected. 

The code was translated. 

And this message related: 
"I'm sorry this line's disconnected." 

—Carl Carson, Riverside, Calif. 

A hockey ref "Penalty!" squealed. 
And from flat on his back he appealed, 
"Not one player backed me, 
And both teams attacked me. 
That's proof of the Unified Field." 

— RilaZielinski, Redlands, Calif. 

A quantum mechanic's vacation 
Left his colleagues in dire consternation. 
While studies had shown 
That his speed was well known, 
His position was pure speculation. 

— Jeff Harvey. Liverpool. N.Y 

A young rancher, longing to own 
A horse like his daddy's red roan, 

Said, "Dang it to hell! 

I'll just steal me a cell." 
Now he's riding a strawberry clone. 

— Dorothy M. Smith, Miami, Fla. 

The meticulous space lady felt 

It was cluttered in space where she dwelt. 

So she hooked a long pole 

To the nearest black hole 
And vacuumed the asleroid belt. 

— Richard Fishback, Brownsburg. Ind. 

If I gave an N-gon to you, 

And said, "Here's what I want you to do: 

Sum the angles interior," 

An answer superior 
Would be 180(N-2). 

—Arthur Stock, Westfield, N.J. 

A fourth-dimensional Dane 
Bought a prefabricated toy train. 

"With the tesseract spread," 

The directions read, 
"Fold on the dotted plane." 

—William R. Baldorossi, Orlando, Fla. 

The Crab Nebula is a cosmic delight, 
A jewel in the darkness of night. 

But to its neighbor next door 

It is quite a bore; 
He wishes they'd turn off the light. 

— David Waldron, Portland, Oreg. 

Two inventors named Morrow and Day 
Bravely entered their time-travel ray 

But a flaw brought them sorrow, 

For, to Day it's tomorrow, 
While, to Morrow, today's yesterday. 

— Burl Ross, Lake Oswego, Oreg. 

"The universe is curved," noted Fred, 
An astronomer learned and read. 

"This 'scope has such power 

I've just spent an hour 
Observing the back of my head!" 

— Richard Fishback, Brownsburg, Ind. 

Oh, space is! Let's go higher! 
To colonize it we. aspire. 

But the problem that seems 

To endanger our dreams 
Is how to enlighten Proxmire. 

— Donna Schmidt Finney, Novi, Mich. 

A tesseract is rarely due mention, 

For counting its cubes spurs contention. 

It has two ... no, there's eight! 

Ah, it's hard to relate 
When the view's from another dimension. 
—Steve Peters, Indianapolis, Ind. 

The most frightening instance of chaos is 
California's, rather than Laos's: 

It's your underground vault 

Filling up, and the fault 

Isn't yours— no, it's all San Andreas's. 

—Ted Melnechuk, La Jolla, Calif. 

When Asimov penned long ago 
The Three Laws that all robots know, 
Had Star Wars shown then, 
The Fourth would have been: 
"A robot must not steal the show." 

—William Ny, Chula Vista, Calif. 

For those who debate on such rarities, 
A black hole's a source of disparities, 

For no one agrees on 

The principal tea son 
They don't all become singularities, 

—Jo Cornelison, Dallas, Tex. 

Astrology wizards, you floor us, 
Writing bunk that at best will bore us. 

You've ignored the old lesson 

Of the equinox precession. 
Now your Gemini's really a Taurus, 

— Brace Phillips, Las Vegas, Nev. 

A wise man was heard to exclaim, 
"This entropy's really a shame; 

You can't win, or break even, 

You can't even quit the damn game!" 

— Harry O. Boreth, Plantation, Fla. 

A tourist to Alpha Centauri 

Came back with a fantastic story— 

That binary sex 

Was so damned complex 
That cloning was now mandatory! 

—Sandra Forrest and David Saltman, 
New York. N.Y 

Frustrated young Mr. Hall 
Pushed his clone off a very high wall. 
He said with disgust, 
'All it does is cuss." 
He was jailed for an obscene clone fall. 

— James DHildreth, 
Kaneohe, Hawaii 

A quick-witted astronaut, Dwight, 
When asked about his upcoming flight, 

Did he have worry one 

'Bout landirjg'on the sun? 
"Heck no, we're landing at night!" 

—John Stuart, Von Ormy, Tex. 

If binary digits are bits , 

Then decimal ones could bedits, 

And when things get weary, 

Try something less dreary, 
Like playing with trinary tits. 
— Chuck Neuenschwander, Eagan, Minn. 

"The physicist's wife will be late," 
Said the host to his guests as they ate. 

"For it seems that the powder 

She splashed all about her 

— Ken Duffin, Guelph, Ont., Canada 

There once was a man named Lw 
Who Pb his friends to Cf. 

This prospector was bold, 

But while looking for Au, 
He got killed while fighting an In. 

—Tom Collner, Manville, III. 

Two Martians were out one day hiking, 
When they found a new plant to their liking. 
So they sat down to lunch 
And started to munch, 
And the signals stopped coming from 

— Mike Jenkins and Jim Slinkman. 
South Burlington, Vt. 

Though Cygnus X-1's at a distance, 
Its matter is lost with persistence. 

It's shrinking, you see. 

Suggesting its black hole's existence. 

— Brian E. Schroeder, Rosemont, III. 

Null gravity's awkward for lovers, 
Especially pushers and shovers. 
The problems of docking 
And then interlocking 
Are greatly increased when one hovers. 

— Janet L. Snoke and Jeffrey A. 
Raphaelson, Fort Collins, Colo. 

The first time I saw in the store 
Your Omni, I hoped there'd be more. 

The pages are packed 

With fiction and fact. 
I've become a complete Omn/vore 

— F Brown, Mississauga, Ont , Canada 

Thanks to all! DO 



By DanielS. Greenberg 

□ mni is happy to introduce its 
readers to one ot the most 
outrageous characters in the 
world of science, Dr. Grant Swinger the 
mythical director of the nonexistent 
Breakthrough Institute and chairman of 
the board of the equally nebulous Center 
for the Absorption of Federal Funds. Dr. 
Swinger is interviewed here by a longtime 
acquaintance, Washington science writer 
Daniel S. Greenberg, who. along with the 
fast-talking Dr, Swinger, is a close student 
of the seamier side of science and 
government relations. 

Omni: Dr. Swinger, for readers who are 
not familiar with the Breakthrough Institute, 
please explain what it is. 

Dr. Swinger: Since everyone is impatient 
for scientific breakthroughs, that's all we 
promise when we apply for funds to do 
research. We don't talk about slowly 
moving back the frontiers of knowledge or 
anylhing like that. We tell them that we'll 
deliver the goods. 

Omni: But do you? 

Dr. Swinger: Of course not, but when we 
go out to get more money, no one 
remembers. More than you realize, my 
friend, it's the promises that keep 
laboratories going, not the deliveries. 

Omni: Does this system always work? 

Dr. Swinger: Not always. Like everyone 
else in research these days, we have to 
hustle. You probably noticed our motto 
over the main entrance: "Take Nothing for 

Omni: But your institute seems to be 
very busy What's going on here? What's 
everybody doing? 

Dr. Swinger: We are in the forefront of 
scientific fashion, by which I mean, we 
sniff out what the agencies in Washington 
want to spend money on. And that's how 
we zero in on the big bucks. I'll explain in 
some detail if you like. 

Omni: Please do. 

Dr. Swinger: It's like long and short 
skirts, wide'and narrow lapels. The 
institute got a headstart into space. When 
that began to fizzle, we beat'the crowd to 
oceanography Then we zipped off to 
cancer— with a short side excursion to 

146 OMNI 

population control — and then we made 
the move to environment. When that 
market got a bit limp, we were in on solar, 
and now we're hotfooting it to nutrition 
research, herbal medicine, and Third and 
Fourth World appropriale technology. 

Omni: In other words, you've got to keep 

Dr. Swinger: Moving! Let me tell you. I 
hold the Pan American Chair here at the 

Omni: In Latin American studies? 

Dr. Swinger: No, it's a reserved seat on 
Pan Am. You've got to keep up with the 
conference circuit if you want to stay 
ahead of the crowd, 

Omni: What conferences have you 
recently attended? 

Dr. Swinger: I was at a session titled "A 
New Look at Perpetual Motion," and we're 
hoping for support from the Energy 

Omni: Perpetual motion? 

Dr. Swinger: Don't rule it out. just 
because the problem hasn't been solved 
so far, doesn't mean . . . 

Omni: Yes, of course. What else? 

Dr, Swinger: Coming up is the second 

International Congress on Writing Grant 
Applications, and then we're planning a 
conference to be called the Chemical 
Treatment of Illiteracy: Fact or Fiction. A lot 
of interest in that, I expect. 

Just to show you how fashions change, 
we tried to get a conference going on 
acupuncture, and no one showed up. 
Three years ago, that really would have 
been a winner. 

Omni: Really? 

Dr. Swinger: Same thing applies to 
desalinization— you know, make the 
deserts bloom with seawater from nuclear 
power. Lyndon Johnson was going to build 
a big nuclear reactor right between Israel 
and Egypt and make water for them to 
share. Today you couldn't give it away. It 
would attract too many demonstrators. 

Omni: Your other organization, the 
Center for the Absorption of Federal 
Funds— what does that do? 

Dr. Swinger: I'll try to explain. When 
Congress appropriates money to a 
government agency the agency is 
supposed to spend it before the end of the 
fiscal year. If it's left over, it goes back Ic 
the Treasury, which is scandalous, I'm sure 
you'll agree. The center has the fastest 
bookkeeping and paper-handling depart- 
ment in the game. As Ihe end of the fiscal 
year approaches — and the paperwork 
backlog raises the specter of money not 
being spent — we're available at a moment's 
notice. We can write up, receive, and 
spend a grant before you can say, "Happy 
Fiscal New Year." Simple as all lhat. 

Omni: Many scientists feel that there is a 
conflict between research, teaching, and 
administration. Have you resolved this 

Dr. Swinger: You have put your finger on 
a great dilemma, one that can prove to be 
a terrible burden to the individuals who are 
involved . My approach to the conflict of 
research, teaching, and administration is 
simple. I don't do any of them. How could 
I, what with traveling to conferences and 
filling out grant applications? Now we're 
■ looking for support for a project to turn 
sludge into sandwich spread. There are 
some problems with flavor, bul. . . . 

Omni: Thank you, Dr. Swinger, qq